I listened to a lecture from the late Dr. James Montgomery Boice this morning. It was the first part of a series of messages he delivered at a pastor’s conference hosted by John Piper’s Desiring God Ministries in February, 1991. Dr. Boice, a great Bible expositor and commentator, led the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for more than thirty years. I encourage my pastoral colleagues to go to www.desiringgod.org to find and listen to this great man of God lecture on biblical preaching.
At the end of the lecture, Dr. Boice fielded questions from the floor. A young man asked him what to do as he led a church that was not really committed to doctrinally-sound, gospel-saturated, Christ-centered preaching. Dr. Boice simply told the young man to “make haste slowly.” This is great advice. The problem with too many of us young pastors is that we aim too low and try to get there too fast. Brothers, it takes time – not months, years… maybe decades – to build a healthy church. Conversely, it doesn’t take long at all to build a prominent name, a large crowd, or a new building. All over the country men (and women) are doing that quickly and successfully. The question is whether these are monuments to strong and gifted personalities or are these places where the saints are growing up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13).
If a man’s goal is to just be the “hottest church in town” (whatever that is), than the centrality and primacy of biblical, Christ-exalting preaching and teaching will not be important. Just packing them in, making them shout, and getting their money will suffice. But nurturing a healthy church that wins more Christians and develops better Christians to the glory of God requires faithful preaching – in season and out of season – that rebukes, reproves, and corrects with all longsuffering and teaching (2 Timothy 4:1-5).