Lately I am learning of the indispensability of personally listening to sermons. Let me explain. Over the last several years I have preached, on average, nearly 50 Sundays per year. The times I have not preached I have been on vacation or traveling. As a result, I very rarely sit under preaching. I am making a distinction from listening to sermons and sitting under preaching. I listen to sermons all the time but rarely sit under the preached word live.
I believe that this has not helpful to me. In fact, I need to sit under live preaching.
Over the last 2 weeks I have heard well over a dozen sermons live. Before leaving for Together for the Gospel we had a brother come and preach, then there was the bevy of sermons from the conference, and finally yesterday I sat under the preaching of another pastor at Emmaus. It has been great.
As I have listened to the sermons and then considered them afterward I have found my heart continually stirred, convicted, and compelled. The sermons keep talking to me. I can’t escape them.
There are two ways that I have been most profoundly impacted.
The first is concerning the how convicted I am about how I have made pastoral ministry professional. I know we are not professionals, but sometimes I default to it. All preachers need to have heart work done. We all have to sit under the knife of the Word of God. We need our motives and actions exegeted and parsed. We need to be told who we really are and what we really are doing.
The second aspect is how this has reinvigorated my passion for preaching. As preachers we can get discouraged when we do not see lines of people getting converted and piles of idols being burned. We can become disheartened when the book of Acts is not always being replayed in our midst. But when I listen to preaching I realize that it really is. In the Book of Acts we read of the Holy Spirit blazing a trail for the Bible, specifically the preached Bible. When I sit under preaching and my jaw gets rocked or my heart is lit up then I am reminded that God is working. He works through preaching.
If you are running a preaching schedule like I mentioned in the first paragraph then I would encourage you to schedule in some time for another pastor to preach. If you don’t have someone available in your church then ask another faithful pastor from a nearby congregation. Also, this is a good time to remember that you need to be training other men to do the work (2 Tim. 2:2). Spend some time pouring into other guys in view of, hopefully, making them preachers.
As a preaching pastor I need preaching. Imagine that, a preacher needs to hear preaching. It is true.