Monday, January 25, 2010

You can't beat the genuine article

Hmmm - this is the second time in a week my early morning walk has been rained out. Fortunately, things cleared up nicely by 8:00, so Scout and I still managed to get around the neighborhood. Yes, I'm sure I could have grabbed an umbrella an hour earlier but - believe me - 75 pound of shaggy wet labradoodle is not what you want in the house first thing on a Monday morning!

It was an awesome couple of days at church this weekend. Saturday saw the official kick-off for our building fund campaign. A couple of hundred or more people showed up for a tailgate party on the grounds that included grilling, games, a chili cook-off, vehicle decorating, Dixieland jazz and a well orchestrated "pre-game show" featuring coach Maul and coach Black - loaded with classic football cliches and exquisitely redundant analysis.

Tim and Rebekah have excellent interactive "chemistry" in front of a crowd. They took the natural "banter" that works so well on Sunday morning, and mixed in every lame sports cliche they could think of. They really got the crowd going, and a casual observer would have been hard-pressed to come to the conclusion "Presbyterian" based on the clapping and shouting and general crowd participation in the church!

Sunday morning the enthusiasm continued. Here's my "status update" from facebook yesterday: "Derek Maul is proud of is wife, Rebekah. If you'd like to experience world-class preaching in a mid-sized church - now you know where to come... I'm just saying..."

Fact is the messages we get from the pulpit Sunday mornings are consistently awesome! Both Rebekah and Tim are interesting, inspirational, in-touch and illuminating. (There, I did it; I didn't start that phrase intending to go for alliteration, but after "interesting" and "inspirational" the challenge was on!)

Add to that Rebekah's inimitable (another "i" word) enthusiasm, genuine passion, heart-wrenching story-telling and can't-fake-this authenticity, and you can see why I'm genuinely puzzled she's not on everyone's short-list for conference keynoting and "must have her preach at our next big event" invitations.

My real question, however, is why it's not like that at every church, of every denomination, every Sunday morning? Rebekah may have above average gifts in communication, but at the heart of her message there is a vibrant living relationship with the God who called her to share the Good News.

I'm thinking that - while the level of giftedness in communications may vary from preacher to preacher - the same good news is available to each one of us, and there's no excuse for not allowing the good news to speak loud and clear through the message on a Sunday morning?

I'll take genuineness over polish any day. Rebekah happens to have both, but for those pastors who lack the skills, please oh please at least allow the Holy Spirit to animate your life and then don't be afraid to let it show during church!

Enough for today. The adventure continues - DEREK


Charles Willard said...

Authenticity is the key. Mediocre to good cooks can deliver gourmet meals by following directions carefully or buying expensive frozen meals but only passionate preachers can deliver compelling sermons. You can always tell.

Ronda's Rants said...

I think she is on everyone's short list for guest speaker! WE are blessed to have her every Sunday!

Jesse said...

Why isn't every church more like FPC Brandon? Or why is FPC Brandon special? In terms of pastoral leadership, I'd have to add some things to authenticity. How about consistency of purpose and focus on Jesus, persistency through challenges and opposition, dependency on the leading and strength of the Holy Spirit, and a heap of grace, love, and fellowship.

Derek Maul said...

Thanks for your comment, Jesse:

The question wondering "why it's not like that at every church.....?"
was not "Why isn't every church like FPCBrandon" . That would be
pointless, because churches are all unique... it was more along the
lines of - why is the preaching not an engaging and authentic witness
to new life in Christ? Why do so many ministers miss the opportunity
to share the Good News?

What you added was right-on.

Love and blessings - DEREK