With the easy accessibility of podcasts, everyone has great preaching at their fingertips. You can listen to to John Piper and Andy Stanley and Tim Keller and CJ Mahaney ... even Steve Tamayo (so, not all the preaching online is "great preaching"). You can listen to sermons on any topic and any passage, addressed to any audience. But should you?
A few years ago, I significantly trimmed down on my listening to celebrity preachers. I did it for three reasons:
- I wanted to give my local pastor a fighting chance. I didn't want to be constantly comparing him to these celebrities, many of which have prep teams, study sabbaticals and exclusive preaching duties. I didn't want to be bored on Sunday.
- I didn't want the preaching pressure on myself. I found myself comparing myself to and imitating preachers who had backgrounds and personalities and "congregations" that differed greatly from my own.
- I wanted to use my podcast-time to "feed my learner." I replaced sermons with history and philosophy and science podcasts. I could still read theology. But I'd rather listen to a science podcast than read a science book.
My pastor is an excellent preacher. Jon thinks well about his craft and is confident in his preaching. I listen to his sermons when I travel (check them out at Crossway Church). To tweak Lloyd-Jones' quote "I'd cross the street to hear him preach."
I'm also preaching much less. From 50, 75, even 100 sermons every year, I preached twice last year. The person I'm worried about comparing myself to now is myself from two years ago.
And I'm in the car a lot more, with a lot more time to listen to podcasts.
So, I'm revisiting my decision to stay away from celebrity preachers.
This is a light example of my idea from Sunday's post: What happens when your plans go awry?