If your pastor’s sermon was full of fire Nov. 8, maybe it was because she or he had heard the Rev. Vance Ross preach as the Orders meeting a couple of days before.
Preaching the Word is the most important thing pastors have to do, Ross said, at a semi-annual meeting of all the conference’s pastors. Ross is deputy general secretary of the General Board of Discipleship.
“Do we dare believe that the word is yet important that preaching is fundamental, that it’s basic?” Ross asked. “Without inspiration” nothing will happen. “We can be citizens, heralders, proclaimers of the new world order.”
“Do we really want to tell them that that’s the Jesus we follow, who He is, where He grew up? Do we want to say that we follow someone who ends up nailed?”
“John (Revelations 21: 1-2) preached himself happy; he’s a citizen of a new order and he has a blessed opportunity. He can’t prove it; there’s no evidence, but he believed that,” Ross said.
“God so loved the world – not just the people of South Carolina. Our love is not privatized or covert; it says something to us in our cozy places. We’re not sure we want to make a difference in our preaching. ‘Justice is what love looks like in public,’ Ross said, quoting Cornell West.
“If we were preaching,” Ross said, there is no reasons to justify” a congressman, who “called the President a liar, who over eight years celebrated lying. If a fellow on an island (John) by himself can preach, I know – you can’t make me believe that our preaching can’t make a difference and turn the world around.
“‘Courage is fear that’s said as prayer,’” Ross quoted. “John knew who followed would be persecuted. … Would you dare?”
Ross said, in addition to courage preachers had to have imagination and touch.
He told about a United Methodist pastor who instead of being able to buy 24 acres for a prayer center, bought 240, now the center of a mega-church near Houston. He cited the large Chapin United Methodist Church where the meeting was held. Somebody cared to “open his imagination to release imprisoned possibilities,” Ross said. Pastors could be doing the same in Florence, James Island or the S.C. conference, he said.
“We change because we feel something,” Ross said “If He’s touched you, then that something in your soul that says, ‘I’ve got to tell this story.’”
Ross received a standing ovation, causing him to open the altar. Almost all of South Carolina’s pastors went moved to the altar, their arms wrapped around each other.