You will not hear those words come out of my mouth very often. Yet that is precisely what I told my congregation on Sunday morning. As I was concluding my sermon, I told the church that I did not want to preach the evening service. As you might expect, there were quite a few confused and concerned looks staring back at me. Anyone that knows me understands that I love to preach. I don’t like preaching, I love it. I love studying for sermons. I love writing sermons. I love preaching sermons. I love listening to sermons.
So why did I not want to preach on this particular Sunday evening? That morning was the conclusion to a five week sermon series entitled A Survivor’s Guide to Christ-Centered Living. This was a sermon series intended to not only give practical instruction with regard to Christian disciplines but to apply that instruction during the worship service. On the morning I preached How to Read Your Bible we stopped in the middle of the sermon to work through a text of Scripture as a faith family. Each week of the series had a “crowd participation” element to it.
On the Sunday in question, I had preached on Christ-Centered Evangelism. After declaring the Gospel to our congregation and challenging them to share the most glorious news in the history of the universe, I told them: “I do not want to preach tonight. I have my sermon ready but I have no desire to preach it.” Again, there was confusion and concern. My desire was for each member of the church to go and share the Gospel. They were to take the Good News (such an understatement) of Christ to someone, anyone, and come back to church that evening to share what they had experienced.
Service. Over. No invitation. No closing prayer. Just an exhortation to go and make disciples. Let’s just say I was nervous about what would happen next. The church still looked slightly confused and slightly concerned. My wife and I shared the Gospel with a few people and then went home. And the stressing began. What would I say if no one had shared their faith? Do I preach the sermon I had planned or do I preach a sermon of rebuke? Because I am a man of such little faith, I wrestled with these questions and many more the entire afternoon. I am thankful that I have a church that reminds me how foolish I am.
I did not preach that evening. In fact, the church had so many stories to tell that our service was longer than usual. I have never been so happy to not be able to preach. I want our church to be that church that takes the Great Commission seriously. I want to create a culture of evangelism within our faith family. I am thankful that the congregation willing to the first step in that process on this given Sunday. One day down, a lifetime of days remaining. Let’s make the most of our days by making the most of God and the Gospel of His Son.