CNN.com – Youth minister smites dodgeball opponent – Mar 31, 2006. I'm pretty sure that there must be something else going on in this guy's life for him to snap. Youth ministry can be pretty tough – you have to be ready for the ball that comes from nowhere to surprise you. More importantly, we need to remember that it is when surprised that our true inner character seems to be on display. See Matthew 12:33-37.
Preach Someone Else? Ripping off another Pastor's message is nothing new. A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was travelling with John MacArthur in the midwest listening to a local pastor on Christian radio. After a few minutes John caught that it was his sermon being "re-preached." I appreciated John's humility … he was pleased that the Word was getting out. I also appreciated his reminder that there is great power in first hand study of the Scripture – power that is lost when merely repeating the words and work of another.
While he is not the only one, Rick Warren has a resource for Pastors in writing their Sermons: "When I was planting Saddleback Church, other pastors’ sermons fed my soul – and eased my preparation! I hope the sermons here will do the same for you. Whether you use the outlines and transcripts for sermon ideas or listen to the preaching to fine-tune your delivery, I’ll be thrilled if your ministry becomes more effective. And if you have a sermon idea that might be helpful to me, feel free to share it! As pastors, we’re all on the same team. Let’s help each other out – and when we get to Heaven, we can rejoice together over the people who were saved as a result! "
I can't speak to the motives of Pastor Warren. I'm sure that they are pure. But I do find myself concerned with what he is encouraging. Skipping some of the hard work of sermon prep. Preaching is hard … good messages take time … and the week-in week-out routine has to be tough (I preach at Crossroads only a few times a year and know how much that takes!). This may be as large a pastoral character issue as kicking a kid in the groin … then again, maybe I'm in trouble.