A few weeks ago I preached a message entitled “Why did you Create Me?” And the service just seemed to go so very well. I love preaching to the people who attend Southern Hills and I get such joy in doing so. This led me to begin questioning why this is the case. Why do I find such great pleasure preaching to the People of Southern Hills. I came up with a few reasons I believe to be true.
#1 – The people of Southern Hills Baptist Church are not pretentious.
These people are real and genuinely humble. The old term, salt of the earth, comes to mind. By this I do not mean we are all of one social strata having complete equality in the realm of financial income. Nor do I mean that we are all of one cultural or racial background, those who have visited Southern Hills can attest otherwise. What I mean is that the people who gather weekly in that sacred place are just real, normal, messed-up people who have a deep interest in the Scriptures, a desire to worship and love for God that I have not seen in many places. They just absorb the sermon. They just relish in the preaching of the Bible. This church seems to live for Sunday morning and seem very hungry for the Word when I am ready to preach. This is why I love preaching at Southern Hills!
#2 – The people of Southern Hills Baptist Church are not Judgmental.
Come on, you’ve seen it. Perhaps, if you’re like me, you can even say that you have done it. The longer someone is a Christian the easier it is to become a sermon critic. “The sermon was a little long.” “That point was a little dry, don’t you think.” “He used too much, or not enough humor.” “It wasn’t exegetical enough for me.” “He didn’t say anything….What was has main point.” I could go on, couldn’t you? Like I said, if you’re like me you probably have found yourself tearing apart a sermon and it’s deliverer with a pharisaical thought of oratory supremacy. In fact there are those online who make a career out of critiquing the shepherding duties of others. I love those guys.
The great thing about preaching at Southern Hills is that you know the people are not attempting to critic every moment of your message as if they where sitting on the judges panel of America’s Got Talent. They understand that they are not there to critic but to learn, they are not there to judge but to grow. You can feel this the moment you step into the pulpit and I love it.
By the way, this does not mean that Southern Hills is not discerning. We do not fully swallow as gospel anything that comes from behind the pulpit but, as the Bereans, search the Scriptures daily to see if the sermon matches up with Scripture. Yet, you can tell when preaching at Southern Hills that the overall “feeling” is that of acceptance, love and desire for the Word. This is why I love preaching at Southern Hills!
#3 – The people of Southern Hills Baptist Church are not perfect
I couldn’t imagine preaching in Heaven to a group of perfect saints. I believe that part of preaching is persuading to a point of decision. At Southern Hills people seem always-ready take the next spiritual step. It seems that every week we have someone new who has yet to become a believer in Christ. And there is nothing greater than watching that person understand the Gospel message and receive Christ as Savior. Every week, it seems, that there is someone wanting to take that first step of the obedient Christian in the form of Baptism. Every week, it seems, that someone is drawing back to God, giving up some sin or making a new commitment to Christ. I love that and it keeps me fired up as a preacher. Our people are not perfect but through the grace of God and the preaching of His Word we are slowly getting there. (II Timothy 3:16-17) This is why I love preaching at Southern Hills!
I guess more than anything this is a bit of a love letter to my church. Thank you for letting me be your pastor and preacher. I love it!
Leon StevensJuly 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm
We love you as our preacher and teacher. Like you said some of us live for Sundays and Wednesday nights. We learn so much from you and can grow stronger in our faith because of you. I feel you were chosen by God to be at Southern Hills just so you could shepherd the imperfect, loving flock. We as a church are truly blessed to have you as our pastor….