These days, you can pop in your ear buds and instantly listen to some of the best preachers out there. If you want some passionate preaching, you dip into Chandler or Piper. If you want a Scottish accent mixed with beautiful Biblical exegesis, you listen to Alistair Begg. If you’re feeling really wild and crazy, you listen to old Mark Driscoll sermons. I’m a big fan of podcasts, and I’m grateful for the glut of wonderful resources available to me.
But the massive availability of fantastic preaching presents a problem as well. It can tempt us to be discontent with our own pastors. We can think, If only my pastor could preach like Matt Chandler. If only my pastor was as precise as D.A. Carson. If only my pastor could bring the Bible heat like John Piper. We wish that our pastors were as gifted as another pastor.
But God doesn’t want Matt Chandler to be your pastor (unless you happen to be in his church). God has placed your pastor in your church to care specifically for you. When your pastor is preparing his sermon, he’s preparing it for you, and God is specifically empowering him to prepare a sermon for you.
Your pastor knows you (at least he should). He knows about your struggles with worry. He knows about your eating disorder. He knows about your battle with greed. He knows about your ongoing chronic illness. Both God and your pastor are shaping the sermon with you, as well as other members of the church, in mind. For your encouragement. For your conviction. For your refreshment. And God intends to use your pastor’s sermon to help sustain your faith.
Matt Chandler isn’t preparing his sermon with you in mind, he has The Village Church in mind. God primarily intends to use Matt’s sermon for the benefit of Matt’s church. Your pastor is better than your podcast.
Your pastor also is with you week in and week out. He’s the one who will be there when your dad finds out that his body is riddled with cancer. He’s the one who will pray for you when your marriage is held together by only a thread. He’s the one who sits next to you when you find out that your pregnancy is going to end in grief. He’s the one who carries you on his heart week after week.
A podcast preacher can’t do that. He carries his own congregation on his heart. Your pastor is better than your podcast.
Don’t tell your pastor that he should try to be more like [insert pastor]. God has put your pastor in your church so that he might care for your soul. In Acts 20:27, Paul gave the following instructions to the Ephesian elders:
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
Pastoral ministry is serious business. Your pastor is charged with caring for your church. He is charged by God to care for people bought with the blood of Christ. Is there any more serious job description?
Chandler cares for his church.
Begg cares for his church.
MacArthur cares for his church.
And your pastor cares for your church.
Your pastor is better than your podcast.