When it's summer it's vacation season for pastors, and since Sunday still comes around whether we're around or not, it's time to line up guest speakers. It's so good for our churches to have a guest come in (even when we're not out of town) because you need a break sometimes, and quite honestly your church needs a break from you too! They might love you and appreciate your preaching, but it's always good for them to hear from someone else. It reminds them (and you) that God speaks through His Word and His servants beyond you.
When you bring in a guest speaker, you'll usually find one of these four types:
1. The Promising Rookie - Chances are you or a church in your area has a young man who has a calling to ministry and some potential, so guest speaking opportunities are a chance for them to get some field training. The pipeline for preaching and ministry isn't Bible college or seminary, it's the local church. If our churches are growing and healthy, we should at some point have some people God is calling out for ministry. One of the great blessings you can give as a pastor is to give these rookies a chance. Will it be perfect? Nope. Will it be as polished as #2 below? Nope. But let's never forget, someone gave us a chance one time long ago.
2. The Seasoned Veteran - One of my favorite things about Florida is that we're surrounded by people seasoned with experience, especially retired pastors and ministers. It's great knowing there are people nearby who are willing to help in any way who've served in ministry longer than I've been alive. The Seasoned Vet is someone you can call who will connect with people differently than you, who might preach differently than you do, but who will be of tremendous value to you and your church. Their messages have been refined by decades of faithful service.
3. Shoot Your Shot - These guest speakers are the guys who'll take their shot. Like famous volume shooter Antoine Walker said when asked why he took so many 3's: "Because there's not a 4 point line." The Shoot Your Shot guest speaker will take risks, he'll speak boldly, he'll challenge long held assumptions, and he'll do it the entirety of the message. He'll take every opportunity he's got to take his shot. Maybe they're passionate about one particular thing, or they're coming as a guest speaker on behalf of a parachurch mission or ministry. Don't be surprised if they pitch their ministry as the best ministry on the planet. They're shooting their shot.
4. The Dependable Reliever - Not everyone in the bullpen is throwing 103 with a nasty slider. Most of them are steady, reliable, dependable pitchers. When you're bringing in a guest speaker who's the Dependable Reliever, they'll step in and preach faithfully, they'll keep to their time limits, they'll smile and love people, and they'll leave your pulpit cleaner than they found it. Never underestimate the importance of the Dependable Reliever. Ten years from now people might not remember anything he said, but he'll have filled the gaps in ways that none of the other guest speakers could have.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.