Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sorry is the preacher's first word

I'm seriously considering prefacing every sermon I give with the words "If you really know me, I'm profoundly sorry, but please listen anyway, or, at least read the passage while you ignore me".

I recently heard the tearful stories of friends who had been bullied, slandered and chased out of their church by their minister (along with many, many others in the church). I hear the minister speak now, and, while he may have many useful things to say, I find it hard to take what he says seriously. The same goes for preachers who are involved in machiavellian church politics. They may have a closely exegeted, well packaged sermon. I just find it hard to take them seriously.
Thing is, they may regret their past actions, they may repent of them, but, unless they say that at the beginning of the sermon, how do I know that.

Here's the sting- I have been a total arse in the past, to all sorts of different people. And there are good odds that I will be a complete arse in the future. So I have two options I reckon, try to avoid my church getting to know me, or, apologise all the time.


Matt Bales said...

Stuart Piggins book on revival comments that one of the key triggers is public confession by the elders/ministers.

Not sure what I think about revival but if being repentant furthers the gospel, great.

Although I'm petrified by it...

Mike Baines said...

My Friend,
I agree with your sentiments, but I would suggest that rather than saying sorry at the start of sermons, we ought to preach in a way that shows our consciousness of our own sin, and we need to be known as repentant people (by actually being repentant people) in our wider lives. It's best during the sermon, I think, to draw as little attention to themselves as possible so as to magnify God.

Mike Baines said...

P.S. I still think public repentance ought to feature in a preacher's ministry, particularly when we've preached something we now think is wrong.