Why is it that the church is always playing catch up? Things keep sneaking up on us. We hear the talk of same-sex marriage, and the next thing we know it is law in our land and supported in our churches. If it isn’t supported, many at the very least have a difficult time articulating from a christian worldview why marriage ought to be between a man and a woman. Have we all been napping? How did we get here? How is it that the children of light seem always to be in the dark, blind to what is happening in culture and in our congregations?
The answer to that question is certainly multifaceted. But part (perhaps most) of the blame is to fall upon pastors. The life of the pastor certainly is not easy. It is a calling that one shouldn’t step into lightly without counting the cost. And here is one of those costs. If we do not warn others of the dangers they are facing, their blood will be on our hands.
Pastors are watchmen. We are to declare the full council of God warning people of the impending danger. Paul recognized that the charge given to Ezekiel falls upon the entrusted stewards of God’s word today (Acts 18:6; 20:26; Ezk. 3:16-18). That is us pastors.
I must ask. Have we been faithful? Have we been alert? Or have we been too busy building our church networks, expanding speaking platforms, selling books, and planning new stage designs that we have missed the threats to our people. Or worse, have we ignored God’s voice because it threatened our comfort and our customers. Let’s just call it as it is. Pastors today seem more like salesman than watchmen. And I’d like to say “may God have mercy on us,” but I already know what he will require of those who hold back God’s word from those that need to hear it (Ezk. 3:18).
Pastors, it is time to step up. Let us fear God more than empty pews. Let us understand the times, the obstacles to belief in the gospel, and the threats to our people. Then, let us preach the fullness of God’s council trusting that many will turn to the Lord and follow His ways. Let’s equip our people and not merely entertain them (Eph. 4:11-16).
And church, support your pastor in preaching hard messages and addressing difficult topics. I know many pastors that will not preach on abortion, or any social issue, for fear of your retaliation. If you desire your pastor to speak difficult words, let him know he has your support. Do not be quick to condemn him (1 Tim. 5:19). Rather, encourage him, and spur him onto good works.
Let us all remember that truth sets us free. This world desperately needs freedom. Many are fashioning cages constructed by the principles of empty philosophies. Let us bring them truth. And let it not merely be the truth that is convenient, but the truth that addresses their condition. Pastors, let us become students of culture and truly know the people to whom God would have us speak. Then, let us boldly and persuasively proclaim the good news with gentleness and respect. And may God have mercy on those that hear the words of life.