Each Sunday morning I realize how much I enjoy preaching to the Imagine Church family. Pastors, I've observed, each have their favorite task. Some love counseling, others administration, and some enjoy visiting or teaching. Some pastors will tell you their favorite task is administering the sacraments or performing weddings. For me, my passion in ministry has always been, and that which I enjoy the most, is preaching -- preaching the Word of God.
The first sermon I ever preached was at my home church in Salisbury, North Carolina, at Milford Hills. I was 17 and a senior in high school when my pastor asked me to preach one Sunday. I remember the title of the sermon, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," and some of you, no doubt, will remember a song by that name recorded by the Hollies. I put everything I knew into that sermon, and it lasted all of seven minutes. I couldn't bear to let them out of church at 11:30, so I preached it straight through a second time. I guess people like short sermons, however, because they asked me to preach twice more later that same year.
According to the New Testament, when Silas and Timothy arrived in Corinth, they found the apostle Paul busy preaching. And if it was Paul's task, it is no less mine. Organization is what keeps the machine rolling; good administration enables it to run smoothly. Visitation helps carry the church's program into ever-widening arenas. But it's preaching that fires up the engine.
There is one thing that is essential above all else, and it's reflected in the words of Jesus when he said in Luke 4:18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news." I've become convinced of one thing: the primary role of the church is not to plan programs, but to change lives. The most important thing I do is what I do every Sunday morning because most people today are introduced to the Kingdom of God through the hour of worship on Sunday. Paul once said, "Christ lives in me, and that's why I preach him among the Gentiles." I could say it no better. Christ lives in me, and that's why I love to preach.
In the name of the One who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
Bruce Jones, Pastor and Co-Creator,
Imagine Church of the Carolinas