A note to pastors

This is a note, only to pastors who started reading me because they were searching for sermons and found me. I noticed that my sermon on Ephesians 1:1-14 is quite well read

Dear Pastors,

I am pleased that people have been looking for sermons through google. Its fun to think that people have found my few words — you have learned quickly that my work is not the form of a mega church… I am not called to minister to such a church. My work, is the work of someone who is searching the text, and attempting to learn. Ministry does not come from imitating those people we respect, it comes from learning who we are in Christ, and honestly being that person.

Success in ministry is not measured in terms of this world. If two or three are gathered, and Christ is in the midst, that is successful worship. If there is are three thousand people who gather to hear a man, and are excited about the eloquence of his words, this is not successful ministry, it is not successful worship of God — it is worship of the work of man. Remember, Isiah was called to fail, under every worldly measure — Jonah was called to succeed, though his greatest desire was to fail and watch Nineveh burn.

If you found my site, looking for sermons because you want to learn what scripture means to people who read it — God willing, you will learn from me — please comment, I would love to learn from you as well.

Today, however, my respect for those who preach has gone down somewhat. Two weeks ago, I heard a rather well written sermon with clever jokes and illustrations… it did not match my philosophy of preaching (I do not believe the sermon should be the center of worship — and I question the wisdom of the modern pastoral system), however, it was a clever lecture. Today, I decided to listen to another preacher — a famous one who I will not name, and I heard the exact same sermon, joke for joke, point for point, illustration for illustration. Such plagiarism is dishonest, illegal, and immoral. If you see me as the source of a sermon, please, search scripture, wrestle with it yourself, pray, seek light and truth. If God (the true source) gives you nothing worth saying — say nothing, God can reach people in silence, but if you must fill every moment with noise, especially if you have nothing except borrowed noise to offer, you are not offering ministry, but distraction. People can come to church to hear God, or to hear a preacher. Please, let it be the former and not the later.

By the way, if anyone has not noticed, each of my poems, essays, et c. has a copyright notice. Please respect this, and limit your use to ‘fair use’ unless you have explicit permission for a larger quote. Please cite the author, when you quote. Please treat other writers the same way, acting otherwise is rude, and sometimes hurtful.

(Note, I am generally quite reasonable when giving permission, actually, it is gratifying to see people expand on my work in a useful way — if any pastor wants to print off and read one of my poems… tell me about it (fair use does not allow copy of a full poem without permission), I will most likely not only say yes, but smile all day… just — remember to mention my name when you do.

Thank you for your consideration… now… if only scrapers would learn reason.

Michael David Jay, (writer, poet, traveling preacher.)

Related article (and researched unlike mine — found after I wrote this note. I love how he starts with an apt Biblical warning (Jeremiah 23:30) to preachers.


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