I remember when I first started learning to LOVE theology and exegetical preaching. I listened to podcasts constantly and would haughtily talk down about chapel speakers who did not communicate in a similar manner. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit quickly convicted me of my pride, arrogance, and immaturity. I learned (and am still learning) to wholeheartedly appreciate that God saves and uses ALL SORTS of people and was glad that chapel reflected that very thing. Needless to say, I am therefore very disappointed anytime I hear a less than loving critic of our speakers. So a few small things come to mind, that may help you process our chapel time in a more Christocentric way:
- Of course we would all love to hear from some “Celebrity Preachers”-but financially they are simply out of our budget. We do inquire about such men speaking here, and it is their decision to turn down our requests. This is not a reflection on LBC’s inability to provide good speakers, but a reflection of our frugality, and proper understanding that there are godly men and women who can speak to our students that won’t cost us thousands, and thousands of dollars.
- More importantly, the qualifications and judgment of a “good speaker”- is NOT based on how big their church is, how big their following is, or how big their name is-it is solely based on their ability to speak and their commitment to the gospel. Many times those 2 things coincide-many times they don’t. Have a healthy view of humanity and do not exalt one speaker above others simply because you recognize the name. This is a really good clip on that thought! – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T85dGdkl4A (p.s. I love Paul Washer!)
- We have had COUNTLESS men and women who have glorified God, and moved the hearts of our students in chapel this semester. If you have not been convicted/challenged/changed by listening to the chapel speakers, I dare say that it is NOT a reflection of their skill-but of your heart during their message. God can reveal himself to you in ANY message you hear as long as you are willing.
- Lastly, remember this is not your church. Chapel is a time for our students to be ministered to in all sorts of different ways! Instead of critiquing and tearing a brother/sister in the Lord apart when they aren’t “reaching you” how about instead you pray for the speaker and the students who able to learn and hear from the Lord that day?
I WANT us to be “on guard” for the gospel. I want our ears to be attentive to speakers who are too soft on sin or not gospel centered. I want us to think critically without being critical. It is a hard balance. I know! I don’t have this nailed down either! But I know that we should go in listening to speakers with a prayerful heart to God asking him to reveal himself to us, and a heart for the speaker-to assume the best and that God will work both through him and in him.