“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Tim. 4:1-5, KJV).
Reclaiming some pre-pandemic practices of worship in traditional space(s) has become a priority for churches, pastors, preachers, ministry leaders, and congregations across the globe.
The question, however, that is repeatedly being asked, Do you think we will go back to church as it once was?
The response is overwhelmingly, “no,” and perhaps it should not. Many have discovered that some practices are no longer needed, while some will require adjustments, and new practices will create a new norm for the worship experience. However, Preaching must never be abandoned, and it should remain the core to navigate whatever season (II Timothy 4:2A) and to confront the church.
The admonition of the Apostle Paul to Timothy is to Preach the Word, despite the time or the conditions of the day. Preaching will encompass the range of needed responses (i.e., corrections, instructions, encouragement) to guide us into righteousness. The preaching of the Word must be done without compromise, and with both clarity and conviction.
Compromise is not an option, as Paul states: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”
When circumstances change there is a constant: the Word of God. When I was in discernment over my call to preach the Gospel, my oldest brother Eddie (now deceased) simply stated, don’t ever compromise the Gospel. That admonition has lingered now for more than thirty two years of preaching. The ultimate responsibility of the church is to equip ambassadors of Christ, that the lost will be reconciled to God. That reconciliation is realized through the preaching of the Gospel (I Corinthians 1: 17-18).
Clarity is that we preach the Word (II Timothy 4:2) and not the latest news or self- interest. First Corinthians 15:1-4 states: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
There is much that claims our attention, and there is much to be said, however, the transforming power (Romans 10: 17) that will settle the issue of life is the Word of God; which has been entrusted into the hands of us that know Christ. Preach!
Convictions keep us engaged in this ministry that is not easy at times, such as our adjustments to doing ministry throughout a pandemic, watching unprecedented mass killings in our country and world, seeing the increasing racial divides in America, and witnessing the deaths of family and friends without the opportunity to celebrate their lives as they had both deserved and we had desired. We must remain faithful to preaching the Word, through our pain and perplexities.
Second Timothy 4:5 states: “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of and evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” Preach!
As we move forward and navigate this season of life and ministry, preaching the word is a priority.
Lord as we walk through these seasons of ministry, with uncertain conditions, equip us with Grace. Grant us to know that your Word is constant. Amen.
Rev. Rodney G. Perry
Senior Pastor, Central Baptist Church
Denver Cluster Ministry Coach
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains