Only one more song before I went up to preach. I felt prayed up. Ready. But then a sense of uneasiness came over me. As the first verse began to roll, I prayed, “Lord, help me. Move in your people. May you be glorified. I know the principalities and powers are against us in this place. They are looking for gospel seeds to steal. The enemy is prowling against me and your Bride this day. Help us, Lord. One little word from you is all we need.”
The forces of evil (Eph. 6:12) were more real to me in that moment than they had been all week. It was then I realized that there was a snake in lion’s clothing slithering through our church (1 Peter 5:8). We were going into battle.
When we planted Redeemer Fellowship 6 years ago we knew how important it was to have and continually develop leaders who serve out of their gifts and strengths. We have been blessed to have strong elders and deacons, Community Group leaders, and others called to vocational ministry. It has been a privilege to train up and prepare people for ministry, especially as we have come to be a “sending church.”
We recently installed our fifth elder, Brian Malcolm, after a year long candidacy process, and over the past 6 years have sent out two church planters, Pastor Jamie Page and Pastor Seth Williams. We will be sending out our third planter, Tom Schmidt, in 2014.
Because this recent Instagram photo and related tweet a number of people have been asking what we have our men read when preparing for ministry. The answer is, it depends. One the one hand, there are certain books every pastor and planter should read.
I did not set out to be a preacher. Ten years ago I would have laughed out loud if someone had told me that a decade hence I would be a regular in the pulpit. As I’ve slowly acclimated to preaching, I have found myself thinking very differently about sermons. I’ve been listening to sermons all of my life, but only now do I see preaching from the other side of the pulpit, so to speak. It has been very good for me.
Today I want to share a lesson I’ve learned that applies primarily to those of us who listen to preaching (as I do, most Sundays, since I am not an every-Sunday kind of preacher). Here’s the lesson: Sermons are not for liking.
Desiring God has released a new free eBook, Doctrine Matters: Ten Theological Trademarks from a Lifetime of Preaching:
This book, in many ways, is the distillation of John Piper’s 1,200-plus sermons online into one theological recap. It’s sort of like a systematic theology text in its structure, but then it differs because it is preached theology — it is doctrine heralded to real people in real situations.
Our hope is that making it available in multiple formats will encourage you to read it — whether electronically or paperback in hand — and that in reading it you will be drawn into the unfolding drama of God’s glory in this world. Our prayer, for you and for ourselves, is that we would know and love Jesus more, and be compelled to dream bigger and risk more in his name. May this little book be one small means.
You can also order a paperback edition at Amazon.