My Heart Broke When I Saw This ‘Preaching’

My Heart Broke When I Saw This 'Preaching'

Here’s the deal: I was caught in a vulnerable moment. I must have been bored because I was in a minister’s Facebook group that I rarely venture into because most of the posts are argumentative and depressing. I don’t know why I did it, but I clicked on a post that someone shared with the group. And that’s when my heart began to break…

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t believe my ears. My senses were being bombarded by a combination that I wish didn’t exist. But there they were.

My Heart Broke When I Saw This “Preaching”

I’m sure he was just having a bad day. I’m sure he shepherds his congregation well. These are assumptions I always try to maintain toward others. But…

I don’t want to be overdramatic. I don’t want to overstate my reaction. But I do want to be honest.

This preacher on the video appeared as if he was simply going through the motions. He looked like I look when sitting on the couch doing a puzzle—bored out of his mind.

And this wasn’t just about his lack of energy or lack of expression. No. It was the whole package. Everything about his “preaching” communicated that he didn’t care about what he was saying.

That’s the thing…

It wasn’t even that his appearance of disinterest toward his own sermon was simply distracting. Instead, it communicated a lot.

It communicated to the recipient of his message that (not to say these assertions are true, it’s just what it communicated):

  • God’s word hadn’t gripped him.
  • The passage of Scripture was boring.
  • The application of the text had no intersection in real life.
  • He was unprepared.
  • He just wanted to get through the service and get on with his day.

I could go on, but you get the point.

To put it simply…

His “preaching” broke my heart.

Why?

Because I began thinking about the visitor that might have been at that church while he was preaching. I thought about myself eight years ago. I thought about the person who is desperate and needs encouragement and hope from God’s word.

Then I thought about the people in that congregation who faithfully gather, serve and give. I thought about how much more they might be willing to let God stretch them if they had a godly vision before them.

I thought about the community that God is calling that church to serve and reach. I imagined the brokenness there and the hopelessness there. I thought about the needs and how much I hoped they were working to meet them.

Now, in no way am I accusing this congregation of not reaching people, serving their community or calling their congregants to a life of mission. I’m not.

But when the preacher is disinterested in his preaching, my mind starts wandering and my heart starts racing.

Maybe I’m too close…

Maybe I’m not far enough removed from being a lost soul, a dead soul. I don’t know.

But what I do know is that God can speak through whomever He decides and however He chooses.

I know that God can use anyone. But I also know that we’re called to do all that we do as if we’re doing it for the Lord.

And my hunch is…

That preacher had more.

He had more passion deep inside his soul.

He had more excitement for God’s work.

And he had more desire to grow in his preaching.

But maybe I’m too close. Maybe I just remember what it’s like to be lost and without a glimmer of hope.

Maybe this is just how it is for some preachers after the pain and the suffering take their toll on them from years of ministry.

I pray I’m wrong.

I pray that this Sunday, we’d give it our all.

This article originally appeared here.

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Brandon Kelley
Brandon Kelley serves at a fast-growing church plant in Batavia, Ohio (east side of Cincinnati) called The Crossing in the role of Outreach & Communications Pastor. He loves to learn and write about preaching and leadership.

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