Ojo Stephen Gbadegeshin
Let me do an allegory to drive a point. Two pastors in Judaea, Pastor John the Baptist, ministering in the wilderness of Judaea, baptizing at Jordan. Highly anointed, explosive and respected. He was described as the greatest among those born of women. His anointing brought a nation dead spiritually for almost 400 years back to life! He was a real evangelist, a crowd puller, with unction magnetically bringing the whole city to the jungle! Who would not go and listen to John?, he was a generational power carrier, a pathfinder, an enigma, a unique man with a unique ministry. However, his messages were raw, ” You generation of vipers, who has warned you to run away from the coming wrath?”
John insulted his members at will, no respect for age, status, and experience. People kept enduring John, because there were no alternatives, and they didn’t want to go back to Judaism!. John actually had the truth, but not well packaged. He forgot that respect is reciprocal, being church members doesn’t mean people are daft. That they are quiet during service doesn’t make them fools. John never addressed people’s immediate needs and challenges, he was only concerned about their spiritual state. John is like many pastors today. Abusing the aged, insulting the elders, using the pulpit to rubish , disparage and humiliate the listeners, speaking the truth, but not in love. Messages like that of Jonah, judgement without love, Hell without heaven, killing but not making alive, condemnation without commendation, abuses without encouragement etc.
John had no problem till another pastor came to Judaea. He was John’ s relation, officially, his son in the Lord ( Though Lord from heaven). John baptized and commissioned him with deep prophesies and fulfillment. Pastor Jesus preached the same truth, but differently. Both preached ” Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand ” but where John insulted ” generation of vipers, why are you now coming to me!, you want to escape judgement?” Jesus preached ” Come unto me all you that labored and heavy laden, I will give you rest”. Jesus addressed their immediate needs first, feeding them, performed miracles, paid tax for some, visited their homes etc, later in life, when they had grown spiritually, Jesus changed to hard messages!
Finally, John lost his church to Jesus, (though this was meant to be like that in the case of John, as a forerunner of Christ) including his associates like James and John, who changed church and were made Associates by Jesus!. People may leave you, not because they hate the truth, but they have seen a man who preached it more decently. Don’t wait until people leave you, they have options now! Don’t scatter the Church, speak the truth but respect people, don’t divulge sensitive secrets of your members during preaching. Be reasonable, respectable and Christlike. Let’s learn from these two pastors and emulate Jesus. He preached the truth in love, he cared for both here and hereafter, he genuinely loves his members, and He still does today.
A church needed a Pastor, two pastors were invited for interview. They handed them a clearly written sermon to preach. Don’t add anything, just preach what is written. Both preached vehemently, however the whole church voted the second pastor and rejected the first. How did you judge them since they preached the same thing? They replied. Both preached on ” Sinners shall be cast into hell, however, the first pastor preached it as if he is happy! The second man preached it, showing that he doesn’t want it to happen, that is the real pastor.