This Sunday is going to be an odd one for me. I'm thrilled to have two opportunities to preach. In the morning, I will be speaking at Rothwell Baptist Church in Pooler, GA. This is the church that has graciously allowed us to live in its mission house since returning from South Asia over a year ago. On Sunday night, I get to preach at Chevis Oaks Baptist Church near Savannah. I have preached there nine times in the past two months, so I will feel right at home.
One factor will make the day odd. A pastoral search committee from a church somewhere in Georgia (to remain nameless for now) is going to be at Rothwell on Sunday morning to hear me preach. I'm not nervous about this in any way, but I am concerned that the whole affair might turn into some sort of show. The sweet folks at Rothwell know that the committee is coming and have wished me well. I just hope the focus of the church during the sermon is actually God instead of my current (lack of) job status.
Earlier this week I was having coffee with Devin Bell, the pastor at Rothwell. He asked me if I was going to preach a "committee sermon." I looked at him with a blank stare because I had never heard that term before. Devin informed me that some pastors, if they know a search committee is present, will preach for the committee, including various things in the sermon to make themselves look good. I gave Devin a look of disgust. He was pleased; the thought of a "committee sermon" being preached is his pulpit made him very uncomfortable.
Instead of speaking for the committee, I'm focused on One. I've found that if my desire is to please God by being faithful to His inspired biblical text, then I'll be on the right track. If God approves of Sunday's sermon, then I really don't care what a search committee thinks. I'm not even planning to preach on a text that most search committees would probably like. The text for both sermons (AM and PM) is Philippians 2:1-4. The theme of that passage is God's command for His church to be united and the method for this to occur.
We'll see what happens. My family is resting in God's sovereign hand over this entire situation. He will direct us where we should go and how we should serve. His methods and timing are perfect.
I'll preach Sunday for God. I'm certainly not preaching a "committee sermon."