I think I run hot and cold here.
Sometimes I overestimate the role of the pulpit in the ministry of the church. I preach, and (I think) it’s pretty good–inspired even–and it seems like the preaching has fallen on deaf ears. Even as people “looked” engaged during the sermon, the end result was no change in the ministry of the church. I cast the vision and I can’t figure out why people aren’t latching on to it.
Other times I underestimate the role of the pulpit. Sometimes I’m just too cavalier about my preaching and can’t see that sometimes God uses the broken vessel that I am and something very spiritual happens.
John Poitevent reminds me of the role the pulpit has in the shaping of a missional vision for the church:
Culture is shaped by communication. The language you use, the values you teach, the stories you tell and the things you celebrate all create and promote your culture. It’s been said that “the pulpit drives the church.” A pastor’s personal voice carries more weight than bulletins, signage or video announcements. Whether someone is a part of the core or the crowd, the voice of the pastor plays a significant role in shaping their understanding of who the church is and where it is headed. Regularly sharing missional vision and stories of people living out the kingdom in their daily lives will make missional living a “normal” part of your church culture.
I need to remember this as I get into the pulpit each week. I need to remember the larger, missional trajectory of the church that we need to be on. Because if folks don’t hear it from the pulpit, it’s possible that they won’t hear it at all.