How do you preach in the face of snarls and scowls?

I remember those early years in my struggling church were so hard to preach.  It is hard enough to try and figure out who you are as a preacher, but to have to do it in a place where there felt like a general disinterest, even at times hostility, well…that is especially hard.  Few ever brought a Bible and used it.  I regularly stared at snarls and scowls from the pulpit for the first 4-5 years.  I remember starting to struggle preaching to scowls so much that out of desperation I printed a message for me and taped it on the top of the pulpit to stare at when I would preach.  The message said this,

You don’t preach for the praise of man, but to declare the truth of God’s word.  It is enough and a worthy, noble work to preach God’s word even if it is not seemingly received by the hearer.”

If you can’t find the joy in God’s word being proclaimed regardless how the hearers respond, you won’t last long preaching, especially in a hostile church.  We have to trust that God is at work using his word in numerous ways, even when we can’t see it.  God’s word never returns void.  Our calling is to preach.  We are to leave the results to God.

God’s Spirit working through his word is indeed powerful for 13 years later, there is no sweeter place for me to preach than this church where I once preached to snarls and scowls.


Posted in Preaching
3 comments on “How do you preach in the face of snarls and scowls?
  1. Steve says:

    Yes, it is hard to preach to those hanging their heads, sleeping, being inattentive–and to those basically looking for theo-tainment. One of my members said in front of the Director of Missions, “why can’t those coming out of seminary preach anymore?” What he meant, as I found out later, was a man coming to preach from the heart–without preparation or outline. This basically meant a lot of story-telling and often misused texts.

    Thank you for sharing these stories. It is comforting to know other men stand in places of ministry like mine.

  2. kyle kearbey says:

    wow, I needed this! I’m dealing with this every service and bible study by a couple who is a “pillar” in our church.Also lots of smirking and sneering.It’s hard. Thank you for the encouragement.

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  1. […] How do you preach in the face of snarls and scowls? | Brian Croft, Practical Shepherding Short and to the point but maybe a pastor out there needs to hear just this. […]

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