Avoiding a Stage-Only Faith

This is the first part of a series of posts written to other Student Pastors on how we can avoid developing a faith that only exists on stage.

A well-known pastor got candid in a book once and wrote that one Sunday, he stood on the platform, and led a prayer before speaking – but as he did so, he realized that was the first time he had prayed all week. Consequently, that realization sparked a change in him that has moved him from a full-time pastor and part-time Christ follower to one wholly devoted to Christ.

As I read the story, I struggled with the thought of all the times when I stood to speak without complete confidence in the backing of the Holy Spirit.I confessed that too often I had interpreted the text well (exegetically speaking) but had completely neglected the pursuit of God on my own time in my own life.I was the proverbial pastor that never opened my Bible unless I was preparing a message.

How did it come to this? How did I – the dude who once had such good intentions – become THAT guy – the guy that only related to God on an information basis in order to move that information to someone else, but yet expect them to take action and incorporate it in their own life?I couldn’t believe what had happened and the reading of this pastor’s struggles and confession led to my own.

I had become so busy as a pastor (doing the good work of ministry) that I had neglected the most important aspect – my relationship to God – my lifeline!Eugene Petersen once wrote, “The adjective busy set as a modifier to pastor should sound to our ears as adulterous to characterize a wife or embezzling to describe a banker.”

It’s not that we shouldn’t be eager to accomplish the will and work of God, the issue is that we often get so caught up in the moment – in the to do list – that we neglect the one who called us in the first place.So how do we avoid the realization that we have come to this point? Over the next several days, I want to make just a few suggestions.


I recently realized that I need a structured reading plan to help prevent me from looking for sermons each week.I chose to read through the Bible in a year on a book by book basis, but there are numerous options as how to do it.So, I now begin each morning at my kitchen table with my One Year Bible, instead of waiting until arriving at the office, getting distracted, and working on a message or answering emails.

Have you ever feared that your faith only existed on stage?

Can you relate to my story?

What are you doing to get alone with God?

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