“That’s Not My Crowd.”

iStock_000013250669SmallMy pastor rebuked me yesterday.

We spent most of the phone conversation catching up. And we exchanged prayer requests for upcoming speaking engagements. Then Pas brought up an event I preached not too long ago. He told me he was proud of me. He also asked me about my observations of the event. I answered the same way I answer anyone who asks me about it.

“That’s not my crowd,” I said.

Pas interrupted me. He firmly told me that he did not ever want to hear me say that again. He knew what I meant by the statement. And he understood. The crowd to which I preached did not share my more conservative theological convictions. And there were things that happened in the service that I did not agree with.

He wasn’t finished.

I was not invited to prepare the order of service, he asserted. They invited me to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. If they had asked me not to preach Jesus, I would be obligated to decline the invitation. But if they actually invited me to talk about the cross of Jesus Christ, my singular focus should be on carrying out my assignment faithfully.

There was more.

Dad then reminded me that any group that needs to hear that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came in the flesh, who lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the day with all authority is my crowd. If I am a herald of the gospel, any group that needs to hear the gospel is my crowd.

I stand corrected.

I claimed those who I preached to that night was not my crowd, because I think they were not used to my attempt to preach the scriptures in an expositional manner and did not receive me well. But that is not my business. It is not about how they received me. It is about whether I faithfully preached the blood and righteousness of Christ that the hearers might have an opportunity to receive him by faith.

May the Lord help me to stop focusing on how a congregation receives me and start focusing more on doing what I have been called to do.

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching. – 2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV)

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25 thoughts on ““That’s Not My Crowd.”

  1. Pastor Charles,

    In September 2015 you signed a copy of your book “On Preaching” for me and noted 2 Timothy 4:2. Like Mary, I hid that in my heart and shared with the brothers at my church that as long as I am faithful to the text everything is prefect as far as God is concerned.

    May God help us all to focus on what He has called us to do!


  2. Amen. Your calling to preach the gospel meant in season and out. To those with a ear and to those without an ear.

  3. Thank you for sharing this with us, Pastor Charles. It is an encouragement to us and a reminder that no matter how seasoned we become, we are still in an ongoing growth and sanctification process, and that those who are further along in the journey can still have valuable godly nuggets of wisdom to offer us. Also, please know that I continuously pray for you, your family and your ministry. You are a great example for pastors and preachers young and old. I bless God for you and the gift you are to the entire body of Christ!

  4. If I’m preaching for someone who in all honesty I might consider to be a false teacher, does that mean that I am approving of him and the message he preaches? This has always been a nagging question for me. Any thoughts Pastor Charles?

  5. Pastor H.B.
    Thank you for sharing this. Many times a felt the same way. It has become very discouraging at times to attend a church and my focus was on them when it should have been on God. I need this tonite. God bless you for your transparency. You have become my teacher once again. Praying for your ministry.

  6. What a great story. It shows why we need spiritual fathers in our lives
    I miss my Dad every day… What I would give to talk to him one more time

  7. Pastor Charles as a younger preacher and as an associate preacher I really appreciate this post. This year I prayerfully and given by the ok of my pastor I’ve turned my attention, fully focusing on the preaching and teaching ministry (or more so than I’ve done in the last ten years since I preached my initial public sermon). As you understand I don’t get to preach too often on Sunday mornings, however this year I’ve preached no less then five times per month every month and already three times this month. Now all of these preaching opportunities with the exception of about four or five came in a Rescue Mission, Christian High School Chapel, Funeral Home or some other Christian ran organization and when I first started getting these opportunities in early January I would think to myself “this isn’t my crowd” but shoot I’m happy to be preaching and any chance I get, wherever I get it I count it as a privilege. Then I also understand that I’m preaching to please God so I stick to the Word of God….. I hope to never stray away from announcing what thus says The Lord whenever and wherever The Lord sends me or places me to proclaim

  8. Pastor Charles…I greatly appreciate your candidness and willingness to share your experiences with us. Without question, God has gifted you in a tremendous way to preach His word, but I more impressed with your humility in receiving the instruction and correction of your pastor. Thank you for your transparency and for sharing your wonderful nuggets of wisdom.

  9. Pastor Charles, you are truly blessed to have an spiritual father who is not intimidated by your giftings. One who will lovely rebuke, correct and instruct you. Your ability as a son to receive , accept and grow only happens after prayer. I commend you for your transparency and the success of your new book.

    • Ali, my pastor has forget more about scripture and preaching than I know. He is a wise man whose love for me is unquestionable. I cannot help but receive his counsel. Even when I don’t like it, I know he has my best interests at heart.

  10. H.B. – This is powerful, potent and portable. Your pastor’s observations were right on time. Sometimes we focus on the array of accessories that occur in worship rather than focusing on the task at hand. I know many a pastor who has refused engagements because of their theological stances on women in ministry, celebratory worship or even the type of songs sung at that church – only to discover that, as your pastor said, they didn’t need the preacher for his programming skills, they needed him for his exposition of the Word. I thank God for your humility in accepting correction from your pastor – another word: Sometimes those who are successful are also those who are deaf – they don’t want to hear nothing negative, corrective or helpful. God bless you my friend!!!

    • Thanks for your comments, Houston.

      I have a question for you? Do you ever get concerned about being in setting where your presence and/of presence could be taken as an endorsement of things your convictions cannot permit you to affirm.

      I think I struggle with this because of Romans 14:23 – whatever is not of faith is sin.

      I would love you know your thoughts?

      All the best.

  11. Pastor H.B. Charles – thank you for your transparency and humility. I find your blogs to be counseling sessions for preachers. Special thanks to Pastor for the needful reminder and timeless encouragement!

  12. Thank you, Pastor. Your book will be in my possession this week. Thank you for sharing this. I needed it!

  13. AMEN..and amen again. As I told you, I love your book, I am actually having to purchase my fifth copy because I am continually giving them to someone… please you and thanks for blessing us.

  14. Pastor H.B.,

    Thanks for posting this message! It was for me to receive. At the church I attend, I am received well because the congregation is accustomed to expository teaching and preaching, yet I feel as if I am not received as well when I go to some churches because I don’t end on a high i.e. closing the message with a whoop. Nonetheless, as you have stated, it is my job as the messenger to preach Jesus whether the crowd appreciate my style of delivery or not. Nonetheless, I am working on developing a whoop, so I can better serve the need of congregations who need high motivation and energy coupled with good biblical teaching. May God bless your ministry! I listen to you all the time.

    Rev.Tim Henson

    • Thanks for sharing Tim.

      I have nothing against whooping. But I definitely think that it should not be treated as a priority in preaching. We are charged to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2). And we must be ready to do this in season and out of season. Do not allow the congregation response (or lack therefore) to cause you to compromise the message. The harvest is at the end of the age, not the end of the sermon!

  15. There is not anything to say after that. Your pastor hit the nail on the head. WOW! May we all be so humble in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.