There is one question which stands out among all the others which were asked during my tenure at Western Seminary. It was a question I had not expected. But it may be the most important question I was asked as a seminary professor.
I have learned—and am still learning—that there is no substitute for personal presence. More than our sermons, this is what congregants will remember.
So much of what is written on leadership speaks to the importance of being relevant—smart, innovative, accomplished. But true leaders are about powerlessness and humility, taking on a Christ-like irrelevance.
Eventually we all transition—either from one ministry to the next, ministry to retirement, or life to death. We hope we have made a difference—a positive difference!
I’m not going to start preaching sermons about current events. I might send out an email or comment on social media. We will likely pray together about it on Sunday. I’ll certainly show how the scripture connects to the world around us, like I always do. But I’m not going to rewrite my sermon on Saturday night to address the thing that just happened earlier that day.