This weekend, we had Pastor Robert Morris as a guest speaker at New Life. Pastor Robert is the Senior Pastor at Gateway Church in DFW and is one of the overseers of New Life, plus one of my closest friends. Pastor Robert spoke at both Sunday morning gatherings and did a great job. Meanwhile, I was at Gateway as his guest, speaking twice on Saturday and once Sunday.
I don’t just let anyone speak at New Life when I’m gone. Most often, the speaker is a part of our pastoral team, but like this past Sunday, we do sometimes have guests from around the country who come to speak. Before they are invited, I make sure they meet certain criteria.
1. They must really care about the people of New Life and genuinely want to pastor them while in the pulpit.
2. They must have some relationship with me or have a substantial relationship with someone I really trust.
3. They must have similar theology, but not necessarily identical theology. I think it’s great to have speakers who come from different backgrounds so long as they are not out of bounds on the essentials of our faith.
4. They have to be there to minister to the people and not sell something to the people. I am ok with books and products being available for purchase but the guest speaker will not be allowed to make a big sales pitch.
5. They are typically pastors who are leading their own fellowships because true shepherds usually have a high regard for the local church. I do have people speak who are not pastors, but not often.
I am grateful to have so many gifted speakers and pastors available to communicate the scriptures when I’m gone. I want New Lifers to trust that no matter who speaks on Sunday, truth will be declared and people will receive pastoral care.