I listen to a lot of good preachers.
Over the last six years or so, it was not uncommon for me to travel over an hour each way for work purposes. On those journeys, I was regularly accompanied by John Piper or David Platt. Sometimes Tim Keller or Don Carson were available to make the trip with me and kept me company in those dark hours of the day. No matter who it was that rode shotgun with me, I was able to have them open up the eternal word and preach powerfully to my soul. All I had to do was keep the car pointed in the right direction.
The problem arose, however, the day I was left with questions. I turned to John Piper and asked him to explain further. Once when Tim Keller was with me, I poured out my heart over some great sorrow I was walking through and asked for his wisdom and counsel. Neither men paused to help me. They didn't even seem to listen. They just went on preaching.
I guess that's the problem with podcast preachers.
So recently, when I read Andy Schmitz' post, Platt Wasn't Enough for My Church, I said: "Yes, and Amen."
I hope you'll read the whole thing, but here is a great excerpt:
These days, Christians can slip into treating preaching like a consumer commodity and preachers like buffet selections. With the internet, a believer can choose a different style and a different preacher for every mood and preference.
However, my church realized they needed a pastor. A flesh and blood pastor is crucial for the local church because preaching is an act of spiritual warfare. A pastor is a shepherd who fights in the trenches next to his sheep, defending them from the wolves. You can’t simply phone that in! Only an "in-person" preacher can bear the burdens of the congregation, weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.
God has powerfully used the ministry of men like Piper, Platt, Keller and Carson to enrich my soul and challenge my mind. To some degree, these men have been used by God to help shape aspects of my own ministry; they are powerful preachers. But they are not preachers with presence. At least, not the presence that I need.
I am grateful for men like Matt Blanch, Luke Kirkegard, Aaron Daniell, Steve Allen and Tim Blatch. I doubt you've heard of these faithful preachers of the Word. But known or not, they are real preachers with real presence. They are men who regularly declare the wisdom of God, applying the gospel in my life whenever they stand before me as our church gathers each week. These are the men in my town, in my church, and in my life, appointed to speak the very oracles of God.
So, Dr Piper, I appreciate your ministry, in fact, I thank God for it. I feel fortunate to have met you briefly and enjoyed the humble words you shared with me. But I doubt you remember me, and I’m confident you don't know me. And, truthfully, I don't need you to know me.
I have other men who know me. Men who love the Word of God, men who live the Word of God, and men who share their lives with me; preachers with presence.