We stood side by side – 5 feet apart. Teens sat at our feet. The building was packed and the doors open with standing room only. I was the pastor and the other the guest evangelist. He had spoken daily in the local high school and our time was filled with his speaking in the high school classes or myself counseling with people. Jesus was the topic of the week. That week was blessed of God with many coming to Christ. Lives were changed.
It began like any other local church revival meeting. We prayed. We prepared. He was on staff at a suburban church and was driving back and forth. Sunday morning was typical. Sunday night a little better than expected. He had asked to get into the high school. The local officials said “no”.
But that Sunday evening one local teacher said, “You are welcome to come speak to my classes.” On Monday morning we showed up. We called him an Evangelist in those days. I see via the web they are now “Communicators”. Whatever. He began his school talk. I don’t recall all he said, but for those students on that day, they were captured. This resulted in other teachers, at the insistence of the students, inviting the guest to speak in their classes. Even the principal relented and invited him to a called chapel on Wednesday. It was an incredible week with some very significant spiritual victories and people coming to Christ. I became friends with a couple of pastors from other denominations. God was good.
The Evangelist was an incredibly gifted “Communicator”. Sadly his gifting took him farther than his integrity could sustain him.
The school teacher? I had lunch with him a few days ago. He loves Jesus. His family loves Jesus. He is no longer a school teacher. He is retired from an oil company and is pastoring a small church in Texas. He has served in the local church in some capacity since those days and has been a bi-vocational pastor.
It is interesting. The Evangelist a much better speaker than myself or my friend. And yet, it was my friend who was the human instrument who opened the door for God to bless that week…”I would rather be a doorman in the house of the Lord than…”. My friend has never pastored a large church. And yet, he has been mightily used of God in the lives of countless numbers of people. He is trusted. He is a friend of mine and of all who know him. His integrity is without question. He desires no credit and if he reads this he will be embarrassed.
He took several phone calls while we were eating. What was that all about? Doesn’t he know that is impolite? Yes, he knows. But, I told you he cares. Someone called him. They couldn’t find a senior adult in the congregation. There was pause and cause for concern. His wife, at the request of a family member, went looking for her. She was located just prior to the pastor’s wife dialing 911. Yes, he knows. But he cares.
Pastors, most of us will never speak on the Evangelism Conference and even fewer will preach a revival meeting in which the auditorium is so full the pastor and evangelist have to stand the entire service. But maybe we can open doors. We can be faithful and we can be men of integrity.
Today I spoke with a waitress at lunch. She told me a bit of her story. She was not raised in a Christian home and didn’t go to church until a teen-ager. You hear so many who say, “my parents forced church down my throat until I could make my own decision and I left”. Her story was, “my parents never took me to church and I didn’t go until I was old enough to make my own decision.”
But she had dropped out. Why? She saw those who “partied on Saturday night and acted ‘holier-than-thou’ on Sunday morning. She was not looking for the great “Communicator”. She was looking for an authentic congregation. My friend and I were able to suggest some good options for her.
I serve as an interim pastor. The former pastor left a little over a year ago. To this day I consistently hear these descriptions of his tenure among them: “Brother __ was a very Godly man” and “Brother __ was a man of integrity.”
You may not have the technical support, the crowd, or have people ordering your cd’s. But you are making an eternal impact upon people’s lives, and sometimes all you are doing is opening a door. The example of David is encouraging: “He shepherded them with a pure heart and guided them with his skillful hands” (Ps. 78:72, HCSB).
Be encouraged! You never know when God will walk through the door you open!