I think it is great when a pastor of any congregation opens his pulpit to an outside minister who will stretch them in new ways. I’ve seen too many pastors hoard their pulpit (now I know there are parameters to who you let preach to your people) and not allow themselves to be stretched or their congregation stretched.
Here are a couple of reasons I think pastors should open their pulpit up to other teaching pastors or ministers:
- Multiple life experiences enhance message. A pastor only knows so much. We all are not “know-it-alls” nor should we appear to be. The different life experiences that each communicator draws from will touch different people in different ways.
- Change promotes growth. The change of pace of a new speaker is good for a congregation who might be used to a certain style of preaching/teaching or a the same voice. Sometimes, as communicators, we have a consistent thread run through all our talks that people become accustom to. Bringing in a new speaker allows the congregation to listen to a different style and even though they might preach the same message, the way they see the scripture might be different than the Lead Pastor and bring out a new truth or new way of applying it.
- Overall message quality improves. Allowing different pastors the opportunity to preach, whether they are staff pastors like a youth, associate, or even music pastor (represent!), or even staff teaching pastors, allow the load of communicating to be distributed among the team.
This allows each speaker to delegate the needed time to one message/series at a time. For the lead/senior pastor, this relieves his time constraints and allows him to devote time to dreaming, developing, and delivering the vision of the church.
With the distribution of speaking responsibility, each communicator can deliver a compelling message riding on the waves of revived creativity.
- Increases expectation. With the creativity that can be release with each new message, the congregation’s expectation levels rise. We all know that we get what we expect (you also get what you inspect… but that’s for another time and another place). When our congregation comes and sits in the pew with anticipation, looking forward to the morsels that will guide them into their journey, knowing that what they hear can change their lives, then the overall impact of the message rises of the charts.
- Develops Communicators. Communication is not a natural gift, but one that is developed. Leaders must release opportunities for others to grow instead of doing it all themselves. Who knows what John Wesley, Bill Hybels, or Billy Graham might be hiding in the pews of your church who might just need a practice field to develop his/her gift.
- It might even make the congregation appreciate their Lead/Senior Pastor even more. (A bad steak makes the next one taste that much better)
I have felt the effect of multiple communicators while attending Westside Family Church in Lenexa, KS. They have teaching Pastors and their separate approaches to communicating offer a fresh view of the Bible each week. I can remember messages from weeks ago because of the creative energy that was devoted to each sermon. Keep it up Westside!
Hopefully, if you are a Senior/Lead Pastor and you stumbled across this blog that started off not going in this direction, please understand my deepest respect for your position and that from this deep respect comes this concern to keep you fresh and at your best to communicate the vision that God has given you. If you do have a staff member or lay person who can communicate 80% as well as you, then it might be in the best interest of the church’s future to release others to develop their gift and multiply your influence.
And for those pastors who are not privileged to have a staff who communicates well, keep up the good work and make plenty of time for study for your weekend messages. Remember to that every time you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else. So if you don’t have the ability to develop other communicators, then guard your time so you can study and delegate the responsibilities that you can to your different leaders. (ok… I’m done now)
2 thoughts on “Are Teaching Pastors a Good Option?”
thanks for posting on this topic! as staff member of WFC, it's encouraging. how long have you been attending at Westside?
I've been going to Westside since May. Where do you work?