In a previous post, I noted several things you should not say to the pastor right before the sermon. I was amazed at the number of responses I received. One pastor made it clear that I really had not addressed many of the major issues. It's not just what people say, it's other things that can happen as well.
It made me realize once again the primacy of preaching. Most pastors have put in hours of study and preparation. The sermon is critical to the life and the health of the church.
Though I included some of the distracting comments people make in this list, I have also included other distractions.
Please pray that your pastor does not have to experience any of these:
1. Personal and family problems. It is so difficult to be focused on the Word of God when the pastor is dealing with problems of this nature. Please pray for your pastor daily for protection from these types of challenges and problems.
2. Physical problems. My son, Sam, preached a sermon, then threw up and passed out. I have no idea how he made it to the conclusion of the message.
3. Someone who says, "I need to talk to you after the service." Don't say that! Can you imagine what the pastor is likely thinking the entire service?
4. Malfunctioning equipment. Every pastor and every church has many stories here.
5. Staff tension. This issue is of the same ilk as No. 1. Instead of family members, the tension or problem is with staff members.
6. Volunteers absent. "Pastor, we don't have enough nursery workers, and the pianist has not shown up." True story.
7. Unfair requests. I now have eight different stories where a pastor was asked to unclog a toilet right before the sermon. I'm not sure what to make of this pattern.
8. Last-minute requests. I was in a church two years ago where the pastor showed me a handful of written notes. All of the notes where last-minute requests for him to make announcements.
9. Criticism. Yes, it happens. Too many pastors are criticized right before they preach. Criticisms sting regardless. But these criticisms right before the sermon are major distractions.
I ask on a regular basis that you pray for your pastors. Could I also ask you to pray that there will be no distractions right before the sermon? It could make a huge difference in the message and in the church.
Let me hear from you.
Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.
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