Preach the Gospel
by Jenni Key
July 14, 2021
Every twenty-six years, on a Sunday morning in February, my church invites me to take the pulpit. At least, that’s the pattern thus far.
I first spoke in February of 1995 as part of our annual Missions Month. We were between senior pastors at that time (Chuck Swindoll left the year before to assume leadership of Dallas Theological Seminary and we had not yet called Dale Burke) so when I got up to speak I unfurled a big sign with the word “Candidate” emblazoned on it, covered by a red circle with a line through it, the universal symbol for “not.” I got a laugh from that.
The second time was February of this year when, as part of a sermon series called Spring Training, I was asked to speak on prayer as a spiritual discipline. The first time I spoke in morning services I was 42. This February I was 68.
I’ve started to give some thought to sermon topics I might use when I’m invited again, at age 94, to take the pulpit.
Actually, our pulpit is not the only one I’ve had the privilege to speak from. Two years ago, with our elders’ approval, I spoke at Rose Drive Friends Church in two morning services. Back in the 90s I was on a vision trip throughout India with the Free Church and was assigned a village church to preach in one Sunday morning. I stood wrapped in a handwoven shawl—a gift from the women of the village—and through a translator spoke from Hebrews 11 of the “cloud of witnesses” we each, as believers, share in common.
In 2006, on a short-term mission trip to Rwanda, I was invited to bring a Sunday morning message to a house church of about forty. At the end of my message the pastor wrapped things up by saying, “As Jim’s wife has just shared with us . . .” That still makes me smile.
Not many men—and fewer women—have the opportunity to stand in a pulpit and deliver a sermon or share a testimony. But, dear ones, how do you interpret these words of a resurrected Jesus? And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)
Those words don’t define or differentiate, do they? It’s not “all you senior pastors, preach” or “all you seminary grads, preach” or “all of you who have walked with Jesus a long time” or even “all of you men . . .” It just says GO.
And as the Holy Spirit gives you opportunity and boldness—sitting over coffee with a friend, talking over the fence with a neighbor, cuddling a questioning child in your lap—preach the Good News of a Jesus who came because God so loved the world and desires that none shall perish.
Jenni is the wife of one, mother of two, and Nanna to four with a fifth due in October. She serves on our staff as the Shepherd of Prayer and is also the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Evangelical Free Church of America.