I went to the Blue Jay game last week. The Rays were in town and I like to go and cheer/jeer for my buddy Ben who plays for the bad guys. “You stink! And thanks for the tickets!” Don’t mention it to him, but at the end of the game he represented the winning run…and struck out. That was kind of fun (for me, at least).
Anyway, while I was watching the game I began to think about some of the unique aspects of his vocation where every move he makes is not only watched, but judged, quantified and rated. He gets immediate crowd feedback for every catch, every throw, every swing of the bat. And then I began to consider what it would be like if preaching was a little bit more like playing.
If preaching was like playing…
…one decent sermon out of three would rank you among the superstars.
…a local celebrity would deliver the sermon’s opening illustration for you.
…there would be color commentary throughout. “Now Phil, I didn’t expect him to go straight to an illustration there, did you? He tried that last week and it fell completely flat. And now let’s go to Bob at Preaching Central to see what’s going on at other churches in the area.”
…as you walked to the pulpit you’d hear someone in the crowd yell, “Hey preacher, preacher, preacher, preacher…PREACH!”
…you’d call for a stretch and a song between the sermon’s second and third points.
…you’d have to put up with people walking the aisles during the sermon shouting, “Get your peanuts here! Ice cold beer!”
…the church bulletin which would cost $5 and have a glossy picture of you on the cover.
…a guest preacher would be booed when he walked to the pulpit.
…the pastor would sign a big endorsement deal and then have to wear Dockers every Sunday.
…you would be allowed one sermon illustration that came just a little too close for comfort. But on the second one a deacon would rush the pulpit and pummel you.
…after every one of your three points someone would toss you a fresh Bible.
…the elders would light off a few fireworks at the end of a winning sermon.
…the young and hip pastors would roll up their pants and wear the high socks.
On the flip side, if playing was more like preaching…
…anyone could call you on your day off and ask you to play an inning or two.
…every year someone would offer to turn your season into a book (that someone else would write for you).
…only one guy in the whole crowd would make as much as a peep when you hit that towering home run.
…you’d have to stand outside the stadium and shake hands with everyone as they left.
What would you add?
(You’ll need to forgive this divergence from more serious content; I’m a bit behind in sermon prep and just need to get to Jonah chapter 4…)