I recently had the privilege of preaching the beginning of my church family’s study through the book of Ruth. It was a great morning and there were many special things that happened that day that made me grateful for my church. One of those things was something I noticed for the very first time, though. I do not occupy the role of “preacher” much (though I eagerly hope to one day), so filling those new shoes that Sunday made me have a unique perspective on our church as a whole.
My greatest observation that Sunday had nothing to do with me, though. I noticed a correlation between the worship pastor and the teaching pastor that I will never forget. I learned that there is arguably no one more important to the preacher on Sunday morning than the worship leader, for a few reasons.
A Weight Lifted
You would think as an immature, inexperienced preacher, the most overwhelming factors of the pre-sermon service would be checking the slides, making sure my notes are in order, having the order of service down so I do not make a fool of myself, and so forth. Maybe it’s just me, but when I prepare to take the stage and deliver the Word and words I’ve been studying for weeks, there is a nagging laundry list pecking at me minute by minute (one of Satan’s distraction techniques). I took my seat as the service started, going through the mental checklist, making sure I prepared. Then my worship leader began the song, “God is Able.”
Talk about a weight being lifted off of your shoulders. In the same way the worship pastor is ushering his congregation into a time of authentic communion with Christ, provoking hearts to disregard distraction and with undivided attention come before the throne, he is also doing this for the preacher. He is inviting the preacher to give all of his pre-sermon worries to Christ.
A Humbled Heart
Most pastors will tell you the hardest thing about being on stage and exalting Christ is that your focus becomes drawn to the former. Humility is every preacher’s battle on Sunday morning. By stepping on the stage, without even saying a word, the preacher is communicating to the congregation that he has something important to say, and deserves your attention for the next forty minutes. The preacher has poured hours into word study, exegesis, prayer, cross-references, quotes, illustrations, and more prayer, and he is stepping on-stage Sunday assuming he is in the role of shepherd, to teach the text to the flock. If the preacher is not careful, pride, even arrogance, can be spewed from the pulpit (1 Cor. 9:16).