Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Pastors, by nature of their profession, face high expectations. Even by using the word "profession," rather than "calling," which sounds more spiritual, I've probably failed to meet someone's expectations. See what I mean? Pastors are also expected to approach their Plexiglas podiums each Sunday with sermons freshly downloaded from the Almighty's email address; and that's after He attaches the multimedia presentation to it. So, you see, pastors often resort to gimmicks.

That sounded cynical. "For a sizable seed-faith-love-gift, I'll send you this authentic imitation nail from the cross of our Lord! Use it to nail the devils in your life to the wall!" I don't mean to say that we resort to gimmicks when we're not hearing from God, though that probably has happened. I don't usually hear the audible voice of the Lord. I listen to Him through the thoughts He plants in my fertile mind. Agriculturally, you know what compound it takes to make my mind fertile!

Pastors are not the only entities who use gimmicks. I recently thumbed through a Bible catalogue, without arriving at the actual Bibles until page 30. Why? Gimmick! Sell the latest cool dude who's written Bible studies, or commentaries. That will keep most people flipping pages until they get to the Bibles.

If I am to judge others, I must judge myself as usurper of people's attention through (gulp) gimmick! I've used music, songs, skits, PowerPoint's, videos and even toilets to try to share the Good News. The toilet was connected to finding your place in the church! None of my gimmicks can replace God's Word. They only provide the proverbial slap in the face that says, "May I have your attention please? I have something important to tell you!"

Helping to convey a God-given truth, gimmick-usage can be beneficial. The Lord Jesus used parables - stories that painted vivid pictures in the listener's mind - to portray his message. While some parables left the message hidden, Jesus often shocked the crowd by the power of what he revealed. Contained within the interesting, or entertaining story, was the pure Word of God. If we can offer the same Word that Jesus offered, then maybe our gimmicks are justified.

After 2,000 years, and worlds of cultural differences, some of those initially shocking words can be lost on the analytical mind of the westerner. Remember how the first few dozen times a pastor drove a motorcycle into a sanctuary to illustrate a sermon it was considered extreme? Now we just think, Pastor's having a mid-life crisis!

The good news is this: If Pastor Easy Rider's 20 year old sermon illustration has a firm foundation in Jesus' 2,000 year old teaching, the Holy Spirit can reach out through it and capture hearts for the Kingdom of God!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share Your Views! Please allow time for moderation before comments post.