Yesterday I was privileged to attend an evangelism preaching conference hosted by Campbellsville University. The primary speaker was Dr. Robert Smith, professor of Christian Preaching at Beeson Divinity School. Dr. Smith is a sought after speaker and has authored Doctrine That Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life. Although it was a two-day conference I was only able to attend the first day due to other commitments, but the one day was well worth the small investment required to attend.
Although I took several notes, in today's post I just want to share three ideas I highlighted from Dr. Smith's messages. The first is that we should expect plots against our ministry as Paul described in Acts 20: 19. Any ministry that is lifting up Jesus will come under attack. In fact, if we never experience problems in our ministries it may be a sign that the Devil doesn't believe we are worth attacking. As unpleasant as they may be, we should view problems as indicators that we are doing something worthwhile for the Kingdom of God.
The second idea is that the Gospel is inclusive in that it is for all people, but it is exclusive in that it points only to Christ as the means of having a relationship with God. We have an obligation to share the Gospel to all people. Every person you meet is an individual for whom Jesus Christ gave His life, and we must find ways in which we can share that Gospel with them in a way they can accept.
But this does not mean that we weaken or compromise that message in order to make it more acceptable. Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one could come to the Father except through Him. He didn't say that He was a way to God but that He was the Way. There is no other means of salvation except through Jesus Christ. That is not a popular message today. It is not politically correct to say that. It is exclusive, but it is what Christ said and our duty is to share that message with others.
The third idea is that we as pastors and church leaders have to grow spiritually faster than those we are leading. Spiritual growth is not an option for a Christian leader. We cannot lead our people further than we ourselves have traveled. We cannot neglect our own spiritual growth with the excuse that we do not have the time as we are too engaged in doing the Lord's work.
I would encourage anyone who finds that Dr. Robert Smith is speaking in their area to attend. He is an excellent preacher, communicator, and teacher. You will feel like you've been drinking from a fire hydrant when you leave, but you will be blessed and your ministry will be impacted by his teaching. I want to thank Campbellsville University for making this conference possible.