When Pastor X is preaching, the auditorium is filled to capacity but when Pastor Y is on the Pulpit, the Church building is almost empty. Why is it so? Could it be that Pastor Y is not articulate? Or is it that Pastor Y has not been to Bible College? Or maybe Pastor Y is only five years in the ministry? What could be the problem behind this reality which tearing the Churches? Note that I am not referring to health and wealth kind of preaching. I know that has its effects as well. In fact, it has done more harm. However, I am talking about sound expository preaching coming from sound doctrine. Why do we have people making choices as to which preacher they will listen to? My conclusion is that there is a particular sin which has blinded believers from appreciating other preachers.
I know that going to Bible school has a lot of advantages and many people who preach well can tell you that they have been greatly assisted by the studies they have gone through on individual level or university level. I can testify that I was helped to a great extend. Paul tells Timothy to study in order to show himself approved. Bible school is like pouring gasoline on fire. The person already has the passion to preach and adding knowledge to it makes the passion more visible.
I know also that people are gifted differently. There are some who are more gifted than others. I can sing and so can many other people but I cannot compare my singing to some people I know. When they sing, it’s just out of this world. I say, “Wow, that is so good. My heart has been warmed.”
I know also that some preachers have little dependence on the help of the Holy Spirit. Some also have lives that are morally wrong. God surely will not be pleased and later on work in such a life.
However, a lack or an absence of these things is not the only reason people shun to go to Church when Pastor Y takes up the pulpit. I noticed something that is encroaching into the Church. It is the sin of idolatry. Believers have made certain preachers to be their gods. They have said to themselves, “I can only be taught by Pastor X and he is the only one who can speak the truth.” The Church no longer holds the Scriptures with high esteem. People have become greater than the Scriptures. The Scriptures are not seen as God’s very word. It’s like that book title, “When God is small and people are BIG.” What we should know is that God can use anyone despite the level of giftedness. It is because we have told our minds and hearts that only preacher X is good enough. We don’t say it but we live it. This is a deadly sin. It is such sins that have led to people forsaking the assembling of believers together. The Church at Corinth was going through these difficulties of choosing which preacher to listen to. This is what Paul tells them: “What then is Appollos? What then is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Appollos watered, but God gave the growth…for we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building” 1 Corinth 3:5-9. In chapter four verse 1 he says, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”
God can use anyone. If only we can cease to idolize certain preachers, we would see the work of God in the preaching of others.