Keith Wishum: No NAP for me, please
I was so excited. “What an honor!” I thought. While I’d never heard of the organization before, I was so very pleased to learn that I had been selected for membership in the National Association of Preachers. I was even prouder when I read in my notification letter that I had been nominated by, not one, but two members of the church where I preach. Imagine — two members thought my preaching deserved this recognition.
When I read that the selection process had included the review of two audio-taped sermons, I was so proud I could have popped. This was no purely honorary recognition; it was actually based on the quality of my preaching!
I was so excited that I showed the letter to my wife. She laughed! She does that a lot when I’m around. I usually don’t know why.
When I demanded an explanation, she pointed out the logo for the organization at the top of their stationery. It included a drawing of a person asleep in a church pew surrounded by the acronym for the organization. I’d been selected as a member of NAP.
Why do sermons sometimes put people to sleep? No preacher worth his salt intends it to be so. God, who provides the word from which we preach, certainly never meant for it to be so. Rather than being lifeless, He describes his word as “alive with energy” (Hebrews 4:12, CPV). Instead of being distasteful, He describes his words as “sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:103).
God’s word and preaching which comes from it should be aflame with passion. It should center on the central issues of life. It should breathe new life into dead marriages. It offers freedom to those enslaved to guilt and addictions. It brings hope to the hopeless and joy to the miserable. It unlocks the doors of opportunity to good health and financial success. It is the bread of life that gives real life here and now, as well as life that lasts forever.
How could anything so soul shaking and earth shattering ever be boring?
As for me, I resigned from my membership in NAP and applied to another organization for preachers. I’ve yet to be accepted, but I’m working on it. I hope to become a lifetime member of the National Organization of North American Preachers.
I would like to become a NONAP preacher.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church of Christ, Americus.