On Our "Guest Speaker"
If you happen to not know, we had our first lead pastor candidate teach at BCC this weekend. While it appears the "powers that be" aren't too concerned about keeping his identity under wraps (plenty of people I spoke to already knew his name and point of origin before the Saturday evening service, and his message will be available for download on the Hope Park website sometime today), I don't plan to use his name, simply out of respect for his home congregation. I'm sure there are folks there who know, but as I'm unclear on how common this knowledge is in his church, I'll maintain confidentiality. But if you didn't hear him, you can obviously get his name from any BCC'er who attended or from the sermon audio.
People are asking what I thought.
Well, first of all, did this guy have ginormous hands, or what? Seriously. He has mitts like frying pans. He could swat a plane out of the sky on accident. :-)
Really, though, he was a great speaker. Very dynamic, very engaging. Very energetic. Very easy to listen to.
More importantly, at least in my estimation, he brought a Gospel-driven and thoroughly biblical message. The guy had a lot of Bible in his message, and that is a very, very good thing. And he didn't use it haphazardly or buffet style. He preached contextually and narratively, and he proved a message doesn't have to be a self-helpy topical outline with some quotable quotes thrown in to engage a listener.
One approach I liked in particular was the way he connected, by way of contrast, passages featuring the "early Peter" in the Gospels with the writings and outlook of "late Peter" in the Petrine epistles. What a unique and powerful way to demonstrate, with an actual biblical illustration, the way Christ following changes the identity of the Christ follower.
Making the connections between biblical texts is so important in this day of biblical illiteracy, even in the church. Showing how the pieces fit the whole, how passages separated by many pages fit into the same Story of redemption and God's work in history, is a much needed exercise, and that it was done from our stage in such an exciting, loving, and applicable way was a joy to behold.
I didn't get a chance to meet our guest in person, but I've spoken with a few folks who did -- both in meetings and in informal, get-to-know-you encounters at Coffee Connection -- and I hear that he is warm, friendly, and personable. I have listened to enough folks in the last few weeks to know that accessibility and openness are forefront values in our church's shepherding these days. It seems, at first glance anyway, that this candidate fits that bill.
In our reorientation and reevaluation, we are of the conviction that it is not a speaker we need, but a pastor. And there is a difference.
Don't forget to attend Vision Night this Wednesday evening (6:30 p.m.) for an update from the elders on the pastor search.
Dirk Plantinga has a couple of good posts up on the lead pastor candidate and his weekend message.