In this age of high-powered TV ministries with all the camera angles, special effects, and background music, a local pastor’s preaching can sometimes seem a little dull by comparison. Consumers of modern media are simply not conditioned to sit still for a half-hour or more and focus on one voice in one visual setting.
Despite these challenges, there are some definite factors that favor your pastor over a TV preacher when it comes to spiritual effectiveness in your life. Let’s consider a few of these factors.
The Presence of the Holy Spirit. When the Lord’s people gather in His Name, He has promised to always be present with them (Matthew 18:20). A preacher can preach truth, but only the Holy Spirit can impart truth to the hearts and minds and lives of the listeners. The local pastor may not be as polished or entertaining as some preacher on TV, but anyone who has experienced the convicting and illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit in a preaching service knows how powerful it can be. It is something you usually won’t experience alone in your living room watching TV.
The Cumulative Impact of Truth. Another factor favoring your pastor is the long-term benefit of God’s truth being spoken into your life week after week, month after month, year after year. When the local shepherd faithfully feeds the members of the flock with the Word of God, they are nourished and grow strong in the Lord (1 Peter 5:2 and 1 Peter 2:2). This is true even though many of his messages may not be all that memorable.
One man highlighted this reality with the following illustration from his own life. “When I was growing up, my mother prepared supper almost every night for our family. Most of those meals were very average and routine – peas and corn, butterbeans and cornbread, meat and potatoes, biscuits and gravy. If you asked me to recall what was served for supper on a given night, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. But I can tell you this, what my mother served nourished me all through the years and I grew healthy and strong. The same is true of my pastor. The spiritual meals he serves may not always be fancy and memorable, but I know they have nourished my soul and produced spiritual strength and health in my life.”
A Preacher Who Knows and Loves You. A final factor favoring your pastor is that he knows and loves you. Your relationship with him is continually growing. He knows your strengths and weaknesses, your joys and sorrows, the greatest needs and yearnings of your heart. That TV preacher you like so much won’t come to the hospital or your home in the middle of the night to pray with you when there is a crisis. He won’t take time to counsel you when you run into deep and troubled waters in life. And he won’t be there to marry your children or stand beside you when you bury your father or mother. But your pastor will. As the years go by, it will become more and more obvious that he loves you and you love him. Then, when he stands to preach to you, you will want to hear what he says, because you will know he cares for you and watches for your soul (Hebrews 13:17).
Of course, all of this assumes you have a church and a pastor you can call your own. So, let me ask you, do you have a church family you can call “my church”? Do you have a pastor you can call “my pastor”? If you do, then you probably already know there’s nothing on TV that could ever measure up. It’s just how God intended it to be (Hebrews 10:25).