I had a revelation this morning after reading and thinking about a blog post I read this morning from fellow Vineyard Pastor Marty Boller. You can read his entry here. Eugene Peterson’s quote of George Arthur Buttrick really spoke to me. His quote was, ‘Pastors think people come to church to hear sermons. They don’t; they come to pray and to learn to pray.’
People don’t come to church to hear me preach! They come to worship God. That sounds so simple and obvious, but somewhere along in my spiritual formation I picked up the idea that the Sunday Morning Sermon was the be-all, end-all of spiritual life. I somehow came to the conclusion that the pastor’s sermon was the deciding factor in spiritual growth for the week rather than obedience to the Holy Spirit. And just this morning I realized that I carried that misconception into my own work as a pastor. This placed an undue amount of stress on me to the point where I really came to dread preparing a sermon. However, with the realization that it really is about God and it really isn’t about me, I can relax and do what I love to do – tell people about Jesus!
My goal as a pastor isn’t to fill people’s head with trivia, it is to help them engage with God in daily life throughout the week. I can and will do that through teaching the Bible, but mostly it will be through prayer, counsel and living by example.
I really can’t explain how much this revelation has given me relief. I didn’t even know I was carrying such an idolatrous attitude (thinking it was all about me) until the Holy Spirit spoke through Mr. Peterson today. God really is our Good Shepherd and the Holy Spirit really will lead us into all Truth. We just need to remember to follow and to listen.