The Baker Blog
Pastor Mike Baker Of Eastview Christian Church 2017
What Trump can teach preachers

Let me begin here.  Throughout my ministry I have adamantly and intentionally remained non-political.  This article will not be the exception.  THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT FOR TRUMP OR ANY CANDIDATE!  I have said before, when a presidential candidate says, “Jesus Christ is the answer for America”, then, and only then, will I take political sides.  Until that time, I will use every speaking opportunity I have to endorse Jesus.   With that said however, there are things to be learned from every presidential election cycle.  And I believe that Donald Trump can teach 21st century American preachers a lesson or two (okay three).

Again, let me reiterate that I am not endorsing Donald Trump, but one must admit that his nomination as the presumptive Republican nominee is one of the most stunning, fascinating, and polarizing political events in recent memory.  What many thought was a joke or some sort of  publicity stunt turned into a winning campaign.  But why?  Well, there must be something (or things) that he did that struck a nerve with a majority of voters.  What is it?  I think there are three things that Trump has hit on that we as preachers can learn from.  Here are three lessons for those who teach the Word of God.

1.  Unapologetic boldness.  This guy is bold!  Brash?  Yes.  Arrogant?  Yes.  But what I can not get over is how bold he is.  Every speech he gives is just so sure that his words are right.  He talks about world leaders, media people, and political opponents with an assuredness that is intimidating.  Even the pope backed down from his remarks about “the Donald”!   I think one of the things missing in today’s preaching is boldness.  It’s as if we are ashamed of the true, life giving nature of the gospel we proclaim.  It sometimes feels as if we are shying away from preaching the hard stuff that may be offensive.  I wonder if our people are waiting for some courageous, fearless preaching instead of the soft-sell gospel we often offer.  When it comes to the teaching of Jesus and his word, we need to recover some of the boldness of the early church whose persecution only emboldened them.

2.  Refusal to follow cultural script.  Once more, let me go on record saying I don’t endorse anything Trump has said.  And you know what?  He doesn’t care.  He is not trying to be “politically correct” for me or anyone else.  He’s not trying to sound like a politician.  He will not soften his words to appear “presidential”.  His nomination reveals that for all our media-driven, political rhetoric for social change, a fairly large number of people are not buying the hype.  What else could it mean?  People are voting for a guy who is not saying the “right things”!  What will they do with preachers who go off script to preach the word of God?  I think it’s time for preachers to stop trying to say the “right things” people want to hear and start saying things that are right, that people need to hear.  The message of Christ and consistent teaching from the Bible will find us in opposition to this culture’s script, but it might be just the thing people long to hear.  Maybe we should stop scratching itching ears with our preaching, scratch a soul one instead.  

3.  Authenticity.  Whatever you think about him, Donald Trump is authentic.  As far as I can tell, he is being himself.  He has always been a ruthless, straight-shooting business man who always thinks his way is right.  Remember his famous line from his show? “You’re fired!”  This is who he is.  He may be authentically a jerk, but guess what?  People (even those who don’t like who he is) admire him for being himself.  In politics (and I’m afraid too often in pulpits) listeners intuit that those doing the talking are not the least bit sincere.  Preachers have gotten a reputation for being fake and hypocritical.  Trust me, I’m not down on preachers.  Much of people’s assumptions about us are untrue.  On the other hand, we have been characterized as inauthentic so we must work hard at being real.  This begins with preaching all the Bible in a straightforward way with a humble honesty about who we are as God’s spokesmen.  

Well, there you have it.  Don’t know whose gonna be the next president, but I do know that God provides me with an audience every Sunday and I believe my best preaching is unapologetically bold, not culturally scripted, and authentic.  

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