Interview by Brian Orme
1. What’s the most important thing you do on Sunday?
Stick close to Jesus. This allows me to do everything else: repent of sin, pray, listen to the Holy Spirit, meditate on Scripture, speak the truth, love the people, lead wisely, etc. Jesus really is alive, and he is our senior pastor. My job is always to stick close to the senior pastor and to do what he wants.
2. What’s the hardest thing you do on Sunday?
People honor their pastor with the most painful and awful parts of life. When people tell me something devastating before I preach, it is hard to be emotionally present, focused, and press through with the sermon. I will never forget the time when I preached on forgiving people and in between services a teen girl said she just met her father for the first time and that he raped her. Hearing this kind of devastation in people’s lives has been common in my ministry, and I still lose my emotional balance on my way up to preach sometimes. God has always asked me to do hard things in hard places, but Jesus loved the church and gave himself for her, so I’m honored to follow his example.
3. Finish this sentence: Sunday is a success if . . .
. . . Jesus is made much of, and the Holy Spirit shows up in people’s lives. Practically, this would include conversions, people repenting of sin, people learning, people growing in grace and encouraged, people getting on mission, relationships reconciled, and more. It’s all about Jesus.
4. Most-embarrassing preaching moment?
Other than the occasional technical trouble, I’ve not had a real embarrassing moment like my fly wide open, falling down, or saying something inadvertently that made me turn red. However, I’ve had dangerous situations with people trying to stab me while preaching. So, I’ve had more danger than embarrassment.
5. Most memorable preaching moment?
Honestly, I really love preaching the Bible. I’m still amazed that after 15 years of preaching at our church, as well as at classes and conferences, I’ve never had a time where I did not have something to say and wasn’t excited to say it. I love Jesus, the Scriptures, and our people. To be able to teach the Bible about Jesus to our people is a great honor, joy and act of worship. I have no desire to be anything other than the preaching pastor at Mars Hill. Everything else I do—writing, speaking, teaching, traveling, etc.—is interesting, but it’s not the church.