Over the last two months of enforced inactivity, some great encouragements have come from former students. I asked Eric if I could share his story. He is an associate pastor in a mega church with responsibility for leading worship in a satellite contemporary service which is fed a livecast (video) sermon from the main sanctuary elsewhere. (Yes, there's a debate there!) Eric assumed it would work as usual, but on this occasion there was a picture with no sound. He found himself in an uncomfortable position. Let him describe it:
I find 400 squirrely people not knowing what to do and some are starting to leave. I pop up on stage and break the ice by stating the obvious and bringing a little chuckle to the room. I ask the congregation to discuss a question (pertaining to the topic of the morning) and promise to report back with the plan for what we will do for the remainder of service. I make my way to the staff and tech team who are running in circles. I say, “Hey! I have a Bible and I’m sure it says to preach the Word. I’m going to go share/preach something.” This calms the staff and as I walk up to stage I literally think, “Lord, I have forsaken the preaching swim and jumped into the deep end of the pool. You have to give me a message!”
The Lord was faithful and planted a message in my mind from Colossians 3. Through the experience I was reminded how important it is to remain in the Word (so you have something to say when called upon), to shepherd your flock, and remember that God works in his church in amazing ways. For the first time in quite a while, I felt as if we were being the church—which took the chaos of the moment to provide this gift.
Eric kindly thanked me for teaching him about the 'preaching swim' and also about depending on God in deep water! Oh how stories like this gladden my heart. Any other former students out there...please keep in touch.