Pleasure in Preaching

I went to preach ‘away from home’ at another church last Sunday. It is a church that is struggling to remain viable. At the first service there were six others and me. At the second there were seven … and me.

I have mixed reactions to such a situation. My emotions get involved too. My automatic reaction is, “C’mon, call it a day!”. I have never been someone who thought that supporting a cause that was going nowhere was a good thing. Read the signs and make the hard decision.

However, my heart was in a different place. I had a strange sense of excitement while travelling to the church. I was champing at the bit! I wanted to preach. When I got there, yes there were few, but the experience was good. We sang well, the people were attentive and I experienced a degree of liberty I had not felt for a while.

I don’t know what to make of an experience like that. I am happy to respond to any call to preach elsewhere as long as there is no adverse effect on Solihull Pres. I want to preach more that I currently am (at Sol Pres we only have one Sunday service). It is not for me to make the hard decisions in difficult places I have no part in. But should I not be fed up at preaching to small congregations in difficult places?

I don’t think so. Paul helps us when he says, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16). When necessity is placed upon a man, he would preach to anything!

I thank God for help in a difficult time. I thank God for the fellowship with brothers and sisters pressing on. No one said this preaching business would be without trial. But the joy of preaching and hearing the gospel overshadows it.

Pleasure in Preaching

3 thoughts on “Pleasure in Preaching

  1. Dan B. says:

    Over there (I’m here in the US), is it more that there are churches that are dwindling in attendance or smaller churches that are trying to get started?

    We have numerous denominations and churches on every corner, most of which have maybe a handful of families. The “megachurches” are a small percentage of the actual congregations in the US.

    I was just curious–may the Lord continue to bless your endeavors at Solihull.

  2. Stephen says:

    Hi Dan,
    In this particular case, it is a church plant that started recently but is now struggling. This I find sobering for my own situation. Though SPC is growing, we are still in the 20-ish range.

    In the UK a 200 attendance is considered a big church. Most churches are less than 80. Many calvinistic churches are even smaller. There are a great many independent calvinistic churches that are in this range and seem to be dying. It is not helped by the fact that there are so few men coming through with a call to the ministry (hence my visit to another church!)

    In the EPCEW I think we are blessed with growth in all our 10 congregations, though it is painfully slow. Put all our congregations together in one room and the total would not come anywhere close to a megachurch!

  3. David says:

    Sorry… a bit late in responding and more than a little off topic but I heard a speaker at a conference recently who told the following story…

    He went to a small town in the middle of nowhere to speak. He arrived a day early and checked into a hotel for the night. By the next morning, when he woke, a blizzard had set in and town was more or less completely cut off. However, he decided to struggle through the snow just in case. When he got to the hall where he was supposed to be speaking, there was only one person there. Even the person who was supposed to introduce him hadn’t been able to make it. However, he decided that since the chap in the audience had obviously gone to such trouble to get there, he’d deliver his address anyway.

    So, at the appointed hour, he stood up, introduced himself and gave his address. At the end, the other chap, approached him, shook his hand and thanked him for the effort he had put in.The speaker then picked up his stuff and started to make his way out the hall.

    “Where are you going?” the other chap asked.

    “I thought I’d go back to my hotel for a hot bath.” he replied.

    “But you can’t go yet!” the other chap said.

    “Why not?”

    “Because, I’m the other speaker.”


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