Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bring Your Best to God

My previous post went up today, but now I am going to expand on it a bit more. This is due to the fact that I am a bit angry at the sub-par sermon experience I had this morning. In a way that is deeply personal to me, let me tell you why it matters for preachers to preach good sermons.

In my experience as an evangelical, Protestant Christian, I have seen churches readily affirm young men in their congregation who announce they feel called to ministry. They say, "Sure. Come on. We will let you preach next Sunday. Maybe we will ordain you next month." It does not matter that the young man hasn't even been to bible school at all. Instead they enter a role like pastor with ease.

Consider those of us with two X chromosomes. The scenario above never happens. If a young woman from the same congregation announced a call, she may be ignored, rebuked, reprimanded--certainly not encouraged--by her evangelical, Protestant church. She will have passages from 1 Timothy chapter 2 thrown at her. Who gives her the authority to speak? Why would God call a woman? We don't do it the way those liberal churches do it--because it's sin.

So, the young woman has to attend divinity school or seminary to get her master's degree. She may send out 100 resumes looking to obey God's call to preach. But all she gets is silence. Maybe she could work with the children instead? Her own church ignores her request to be ordained--and that church is supposed to be a bit more progressive and affirming of women's roles in ministry. Maybe her denomination won't ordain without a call. Maybe she can't be called by a church until she is ordained--"ordination required for this position"she reads in the job posting. Maybe she wants to preach in her own church and has to have another man twist the arm of the pastor to let her do so. Yet this woman knows how to craft a sermon and deliver it. It is something she keeps studying and working on as she smashes her fists against the stained glass ceiling. The fact that she is a woman holds her in an unordained status--frustrated yet still eager to follow God's call.

The man who is called doesn't even have to try that hard. Which makes him think that sub-par is enough. But like Cain bringing his sacrifice to God, you've got to bring your best or the offering is rejected.

My brothers in Christ who happen to also be preachers: you've got to bring your best. The women who are called, who could easily step into your place if you were out sick one Sunday, are prepared. Bring your A game. One day, this post will be obsolete--women will have their calls affirmed as quickly and easily as men's. But for now, you better be ready. You better work on your sermon and know your stuff. You need to read and study and pray and be ready to speak Truth.

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