The following is perhaps my favourite quote from Mike McKinley’s book Church Planting is For: Wimps. It’s my favourite, I think, because this stands out as the single greatest lesson I have learned from my short 8 1/2 years preaching. However, it saddens me to run into many other wiser, more experienced pastors who have yet to learn this lesson–the pivotal, powerful lesson Mike McKinley, a 9 Marks church planter, talks about below:
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. (1 Cor. 1:18-21)
Listen, if you preach a great series of topical sermons on marriage or finances or sex, your church plant might grow. If you are a savvy marketer and put up provocative billboards around town, your church might grow quickly. And people will think that you are great. You can wear trendy shirts, get blond tips in your hair, and wear a microphone that hooks around your ear.
But if you preach God’s Word faithfuly, few people will be tempted to think that you are great. If you stand up on Sunday morning and explain that when Jesus forgave the sins of the parlytic in Mark 2, he was claiming to be God and that the only way for sins to be forgiven was for God-in-the-flesh to take the punishment for our sins on himself on the cross, people will have one of two reactions: they will praise God, or they will think you are a complete idiot. That’s the point. God has designed it to work this way. You preach and people get saved to God’s glory, or their so-called “wisdom” is confounded and you look like a moron, also to God’s glory (pp 50-51, Church Planting is For: Wimps).