In my years of being a pastor I have noticed many fickle behaviors amongst God’s sheep. Sheep do not like rain. The adage is that it takes a tub full of water to get a Baptist in, but it takes only a drop to get him out. True! Sheep will go to a ball game on Saturday even if they have an arm barely hanging on at the elbow. Yet, they will not get out of bed on Sunday morning due to the vicious pain of a hangnail. If Jr. has a low grade temp below 103 we will send him to school on Monday, but if Jr. sneezes on a Sunday morning the whole family needs to stay home. Such is sheep.
Another fickle fixture of sheep is that when the pastor’s away, well, the sheep “do” play. No pastor = No go. I have also noticed that for some this applies to any service in which there is a guest preacher whether the pastor is present or not. Yo sheep, this should not be.
No matter who is preaching on a particular Sunday, God’s people should never compromise faithfulness. The Bible tells us that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves (Heb. 10:25). If the threat of persecution the church experienced in the first century was not a sufficient excuse, a guest speaker falls well short of justified absence. Stay faithful.
Furthermore, as great as your pastor may be, he does not possess all the gifts. Ephesians 4:12ff teaches us that Christ gifts the church with various leaders, each of them, when received, add to the maturity and unity of the church. Your pastor may be a great teacher, but you also need the evangelist to stir you up. People that love the fiery “in your face” prophet sermon need also to be tempered with the teacher. Those that feast on deep teaching often fail in practicality and passion. The deep swimmers need to surface and feel fire from time to time just to keep them from getting too heady.
The guest speaker may not be your “full time gig”, but truth is, you need what he offers if you are to mature. The guest speaker may not be familiar, but he adds to our life as a gift of Christ to His church.
Whatever your preference, truth is, Jesus knows you need something else as well and He gifts the church accordingly. Failing to receive the diverse preaching gifts Christ has given the church is like eating a banana every meal. Ironically, they say you can live longer eating only bananas than any other food, but at some point you will die. Learn to appreciate the various gifts Christ has given the church. Receive them all, the preachers, the teachers, the evangelists, and the missionaries. We should also learn to appreciate the various speaking styles among them (the yellers, the talkers, the story tellers, and deep thinkers). Bananas are good, but sheep need more to reach full maturity.