My pastor rebuked me yesterday.
We spent most of the phone conversation catching up. And we exchanged prayer requests for upcoming speaking engagements. Then Pas brought up an event I preached not too long ago. He told me he was proud of me. He also asked me about my observations of the event. I answered the same way I answer anyone who asks me about it.
“That’s not my crowd,” I said.
Pas interrupted me. He firmly told me that he did not ever want to hear me say that again. He knew what I meant by the statement. And he understood. The crowd to which I preached did not share my more conservative theological convictions. And there were things that happened in the service that I did not agree with.
He wasn’t finished.
I was not invited to prepare the order of service, he asserted. They invited me to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. If they had asked me not to preach Jesus, I would be obligated to decline the invitation. But if they actually invited me to talk about the cross of Jesus Christ, my singular focus should be on carrying out my assignment faithfully.
There was more.
Dad then reminded me that any group that needs to hear that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came in the flesh, who lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the day with all authority is my crowd. If I am a herald of the gospel, any group that needs to hear the gospel is my crowd.
I stand corrected.
I claimed those who I preached to that night was not my crowd, because I think they were not used to my attempt to preach the scriptures in an expositional manner and did not receive me well. But that is not my business. It is not about how they received me. It is about whether I faithfully preached the blood and righteousness of Christ that the hearers might have an opportunity to receive him by faith.
May the Lord help me to stop focusing on how a congregation receives me and start focusing more on doing what I have been called to do.
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching. – 2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV)