Tomorrow morning will mark my "first" preaching Sunday as the lead pastor of our church. Contrary to what I joked about several months ago, the title of the message will not be, "Finally!" Instead the message is entitled, "Next Steps." I think it is important during this time of transition that the church body understands what is coming next as we continue to grow as a church family. There will be much said about who we are as a church and the purpose of the church in the message tomorrow, so I won't cover that here. If you are reading this after the fact, I encourage you to go check out that message on our Youtube page for a more in depth look at what these next steps are. However, there is ONE thing I want to briefly share here in relation to what I will be preaching on tomorrow, and that is the centrality of God's Word in all we do.
It seems to me that many churches today have placed the Word of God on the back burner. It's there, it sits on the pulpit (if there is one) and maybe it get's talked about in passing, but it seems to be a rarity that the Word of God would be central to the church service; which is a weird paradox. How is it possible to remove the very thing that the church has been instructed to proclaim? If churches aren't preaching and teaching the Word of God, then how is it different than a TED talk or some other informative presentation? I don't mean to sound obstinate, I understand that there are many approaches to "church" in which philosophies, ministries, priorities, and styles can vary; but what should be a common denominator across the board is that God's Word is the authority of our teaching. The pulpit should be the place in which the Word of God is carefully exposited, taught, and applied for all who listen. It's not my job to take current events or social issues and loosely weave it into a verse or two of Scripture and try to make the Bible say something I want it to say. It's my job to faithfully preach what God has already declared in His Word and communicate how that applies to lives today. The Bible; with all of its teachings, doctrine, promises, prophecies, and truths; MUST be at the core of the church's function.
So as I prepare for tomorrow morning's message, I'm committing myself even more to the importance, superiority, and supremacy of God's Word in my life and the life of our church. Whatever the next steps may bring, the Word of God will be central to it -because without it, we're not the church.
Ephesians 4:11-16 "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."