What To Avoid

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Rippon, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Rippon

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    Well, a number of posts have vanished and enire threads too. (This particular thread may disappear in a few hours.) I had posted something regarding humor in the pulpit and it has gone away. But I will still quote from Preaching And Preachers which are the gathered lectures of DMLJ;or as he was affectionately known as: "The Doctor."

    "But there is one thing that is even worse than running into the pulpit and that is the putting on of a smile when you have got there.You know the type of man who stands there ...and greets his congrgation with the words, 'Good morning folks; nice to see you, how good of you to come.' Still worse if he proceeds to crack a joke or two just to put the people at ease.
    ...Why is it wrong? Because the whole approach is wrong. It is not our service; the people do not come there to see us or please us. It is not like inviting people intoour home as it were; it is not our service at all. They, and we, are there to worship God, and to meet with God; what we must try to do is to show them that this is something entirely different from everything they do everywhere else. A minister in a church is not like like a man iviting people into his home; he is not in charge here. He is just a servant himself; we are all there together to come into the presence of the living God. I cannot emphasise too much that we should go out of our way to show the difference between these two things. I would utterly codemn the practice of suggesting to the people that there is nothing strange or unusual about this, and of saying 'Good morning folks' and putting them at ease with a few jokes. If you want to do that sort of thing in your own home you are at liberty to don so; but a church is not your own home, and you yourself are under God. We must emphasise this difference." (262,263)
     
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  2. Rippon

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    The following is from another chapter of D-M-L-J's book. It's from chapter fourteen. But the information I'm about to share is cautionary and still spells out what to avoid.

    "But more particularly,there is a very real danger, often, of a kind of 'organist tyranny.' This arises because the organist is in a position where he or she can exercise considerable control. With a powerful instrument they can control the rate at which a hymn is sung, and the effect will vary completely according to whether he takes it too quickly, or too slowly. Many a preacher has had great trouble in his ministry with a difficult organist, and especially with the type that is more interested in music than in Truth. One should be very careful therefore in appointing an organist to make sure that he is a Christian. And if you have choirs you should insist upon the same with every member of the choir. The first desideratum should not be the voice, but the Christian character, the love of the Truth, and a delight in singing it. that's the way to avoid organist tyranny and the sister-trouble choir tyranny..."

    "...what we should seek and aim at is a congregation of people singing the praises of God together; and that the real function of an organ is to accompany that. It is to be an accompaniment; it is not to dictate; and it must never be allowed to do so. It must always be subservient. I would go so far as to say that the preacher generally should choose the tunes as well as the hymns, because sometimes there can be a contradiction between the two. Some tunes virtually contradict the message of the hymn though the metre may be correct. So the preacher has the right to be in charge of these matters; and he must not surrender thisd right." (pgs. 266&267)
     
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  3. Internet Theologian

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    At a church we belonged to long ago the associate pastor had a habit of complimenting the music, while downgrading the preaching of the Word. He would say something similar to this 'I don't know about you but I get ministered to better in a song than in a sermon'. People would amen him, and the whole thing was sad to behold. I believe they did not know how devastating such a comment was to the ministry of the Word nor upon their attitude toward that ministry.
     
  4. TCassidy

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    I would rather negotiate with a terrorist than meet with the piano/organist and choir director.

    (Well, gotta run. Time for choir practice. Pray for me as I enter the lion's den!) :D :D :D
     
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  5. Rippon

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    Continuing in DMLJ's book :Preaching & Preachers. I will cite some clips from his chapter :Calling For Decisions.
    People have at various times come to me at the close of a service and have chided me, indeed sometimes reprimanded me, because I have not made an appeal for immediate decisions. Some of them would go so far as to say that I had been guilty of sin, that an opportunity had been created by my own preaching but that I had not taken advantage of it. They have said, 'I am quite sure that if you had only made an appeal you would have had a great response' -- that kind of argument.m (269)

    In addition to that I have been told by a number of ministers within the last ten years or so that they have been told by people at the end of a service that they had not preached the Gospel, simply because they had not made an appeal. This had happened to them in a morning service as well as an evening service. This had happened to them, not in evangelistic services only, but also in other services which were plainly not meant to have a primary evangelistic intent. But they were charged with not having preached the Gospel because there was no 'appeal'. I once met three men, three ministers, who had virtually been given a call to minister in certain churches, and who were on the verge of accepting, when someone suddenly asked the question: D id they give an 'altar call' at the end of every sermon? And because these three particular men had said that they did not do so, they had not received the call, the decision was reversed. (269,270)
     
  6. Rippon

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    Coninuing in the 14th chapter of DMLJ's book.

    In the church where I ministered in South Wales I used to stand at the main door of the church at the close of the service on Sunday night, and shake hands with people as they went out. The incident to which I am referring concerns a man who used to come to our service every Sunday night. He was a tradesman but also a heavy drinker. He got drunk regularly every Saturday night, but he was also regularly seated in the gallery of our church every Sunday night. On the particular night to which I am referring I happened to notice while preaching that this man was obviously affected. I could see that he was weeping copiously, and I was anxiously to know what was happening to him. At the end of the service I went and stood at the door. After a while I saw this man coming, and immediately I was in a real mental conflict. Should I, in view of what I had seen, say a word to him and ask him to make his decision that night, or should I not? Would I be interfering with the work of the Spirit if I did so? Hurriedly I decided that I would not ask him to stay behind, so I just greeted him as usual and he went out. His face revealed that he had been crying copiously, and he could scarcely look at me. The following evening I was walking to the prayer-meeting in the church, and, going over a railway bridge, I saw this same man coming to meet me. He came across the road to meeet me and said, 'You know, doctor, if you had asked me to stay behind last night I would have done so.' 'Well,' I said, 'I am asking you now, come with me now.' 'Oh no,' he replied, 'but if you had asked me last night I would have done so.' 'My dear friend,' I said, 'if what happened to you last night does not last for twenty-four hours I am not interested in it.If you are not as ready to come with me now as you were last night you have not got the right, the true thing. Whatever affected you last night was only temporary and passing, you still do not see your real need of Christ. (275,276)
     
  7. Rob_BW

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    So you have an adult who's been sobbing, and you just "greet him as usual" ???

    I'm sorry, but this whole thing strikes me as bizarre. If the atheist or Muslim at work was walking out the door sobbing, I would ask them what was wrong and if there was anything I could do to help. Am I supposed to do less for someone attending church for fear that I'm interfering with the Holy Spirit? For all this pastor knew, the guy had lost a loved one or maybe got fired, or perhaps he was on his was home to commit suicide.

    What about bearing another's burdens, or showing brotherly love?
     
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  8. Rippon

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    Well, the man could have spoken to DMLJ. It wasn't a one directional deal.
    You've made some legitimate points. But I certainly see DMLJ's side.
     
  9. Internet Theologian

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    I'll side with DMLJ on this one. I believe him to be exactly correct. In a 24 hour period or so the man became embittered and blamed it all on DMLJ; 'If you...' speaking to DMLJ of course. No, no, that is not correct. To me, coming from a family of drunkards that is the typical behavior, blaming their state and unwillingness to overcome on all but themselves.

    That man will not be able to justly blame any person other than himself at judgment. Tears are no sign of true repentance, Hebrews 12:17; and Christ will lose none the Father has given Him; John 6:39. The fact the DMLJ was torn on what to do and made a decision based on all he knew, which is much more than we know looking in.

    I've also found that offering help in most of these situations without the person first requesting help themselves avails very little if anything at all.
     
  10. Rob_BW

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    Thank you for the response. I know that this gentleman garners a lot of respect from many members here, and I don't mean to be overly critical.
     
  11. Rippon

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    Continuing in chapter 14 of DMLJ's book:

    The appeal must be in the Truth itself, and in the message.As you preach your sermon you should be applying it all the time, and especially, of course, at the end, when you come to the final application and to the climax. But the appeal is a part of the message; it should be so inevitably. The sermon should lead men to see that this is the only thing to do. The appeal should be implicit throughout the whole body of the sermon, and in all that you are doing. I would say, without hesitation, that a distinct and separate and special appeal at the end after a break, and after a hymn, should only be made when one is conscious of some overwhelming injunction of the Spirit of God to do so. If ever I feel that, I do it; but it is only then. And even then the way in which I do it is not to ask people to come forward; I just make it known that I am ready to see them at the end of the service or at any other time. Indeed I believe that the minister should always make an announcement in some shape or form that he is available to talk to anybody who wants to talk to him about their soul and its eternal destiny. This can be put on a card in every seat --which is what I did --or you can do it in some other way. Make yourself available, let it be known that you are available, and so you will find that people who have come under conviction of sin will come to speak to you because they are unhappy. Not infrequently they may be afraid to go home as they are. I have known people to gto halfway home and then come back again to the church to see me because they could not endure the sense of conviction and unhappiness; the agony was too great. (p.282)
     
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  12. ReformedBaptist

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    Some related thoughts from Spurgeon.

    The whole Church will be indebted to Dr. Stanford for having protested against the superstition which regards wit and humor as deadly sins. He has not only set forth the propriety of simple, natural mirth, but has well-nigh shown the duty of it. We knew that our beloved friend had a sly twinkle in his eye, and said things which sparkled with a subdued and chastened fun; but we hardly believed that he would become the defender of our faith in wit, and the avenger of those fierce assaults which have been made on humor. This book ought to shut the mouths of those melancholy critics who think that everything solemn should be sad, and that anything approaching to pleasantry must be wicked. The chapter upon "What have Christians to do with Wit and Humour?" gives us the utmost delight. The argument is as irresistible as the laughter which it provokes; and both the argument and the laughter are as wholesome and as holy as anything we have ever read. We are tempted to make copious quotations, but we had rather our friends should get the book for themselves; in fact, they will have to do so, for everybody will be forced to read it. We hope these wise and genial pages will work a revolution in the ideas of thousands who now blush when they smile, and put down an honest laugh in the category of things to be repented of.—C. H. S., in review of Dr. Charles Stanford's volume, "The Wit and Humour of Life."

    [​IMG]It is a sort of tradition of the fathers that it is wrong to laugh on Sundays. The eleventh commandment is, that we are to love one another; and then, according to some people, the twelfth is, "Thou shalt pull a long face on Sunday." I must confess that I would rather hear people laugh than 1 would see them asleep in the house of God; and I would rather get the truth into them through the medium of ridicule than I would have it neglected, or leave the people to perish through lack of reception of the message. I do believe, in my heart, that there may be as much holiness in a laugh as in a cry; and that, sometimes, to laugh is the better thing of the two, for I may weep, and be murmuring, and repining, and thinking all sorts of bitter thoughts against God; while, at another time, I may laugh the laugh of sarcasm against sin, and so evince a holy earnestness in the defense of the truth. I do not know why ridicule is to be given up to Satan as a weapon to be used against us, and not to be employed by us as a weapon against him. I will venture to affirm that the Reformation owed almost as much to the sense of the ridiculous in human nature as to anything else, and that those humorous squibs and caricatures, that were issued by the friends of Luther, did more to open the eyes of Germany to the abominations of the priesthood than the more solid and ponderous arguments against Romanism. I know no reason why we should not, on suitable occasions, try the same style of reasoning. "It is a dangerous weapon," it will be said, "and many men will cut their fingers with it." Well, that is their own 1ookout; but I do not know why we should be so particular about their cutting their fingers if they can, at the same time, cut the throat of sin, and do serious damage to the great adversary of souls.—C. H. S., in "Lectures to my Students."
     
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  13. Craigbythesea

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    In such a situation, it is always the pastor’s responsibility as a pastor to take the initiative.
     

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