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Your “gospel game” is far more important than your shoe game

Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier

Recently I made a post on Instagram that got a ton of comments. I posted a picture of a guy in sneakers with these words, “I’ve heard thousands of sermons in my 30+ years of ministry. Out of them all, I’d say 30% of the time the preacher gives the gospel & 30% of those who give it, present it clearly. Many forget to even mention the cross. Preachers, forget your shoe game. Work on your gospel game.”

Judging by the comments on my Insta, the post must have hit a nerve.C5702DDE-E501-4BEA-A29C-F9862F0E161B


But this post is not a shoe rant. It’s a gospel rant.

I don’t care whether you wear dress shoes, loafers, Vans, Air Jordans or Crocs when you preach. Just give the gospel clearly and compellingly every single time.

And, on second thought, don’t wear Crocs.

Give the gospel clearly every time you stand behind the pulpit, music stand or iPad Holder to unpack God’s Word to an audience. Here are 5 reasons why…

1.  Souls depend on it.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Romans 10:14

Too many times when preachers preach, they commit “the sin of assumption.” They assume that just because people are there, they are saved.

But not all of them are. I guarantee you that there are people who regularly attend your church services (and youth group meetings) who do not know Jesus. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given the gospel in church services, youth group meetings, college gatherings or Christian conferences, where so many people put their faith in Jesus that it shocked the leaders.

Every time you have a large group together in a church, youth room or online there are inevitably lost people viewing. Their souls hang by the thread of God’s mercy over the flames of hell. God is looking for a preacher just like you to give the message that can rescue them from a Christless eternity.

How will they hear without someone preaching to them?

That someone is you. No pressure.

2.  It gives your people confidence to invite.

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”  1 Corinthians 2:2

When I was a brand new pastor of a brand new church plant, I told our congregation on day #1 that the gospel would be given clearly in every single sermon in every single church service. I wanted the people to know that anytime they’d bring a lost friend, relative, classmate, co-worker or family member, that they would hear a clear presentation of the gospel and be given an opportunity to respond. 

What happened? People eventually began to invite others out to church in droves and many, many put their faith in Jesus as a result! The church grew and grew with new disciples and a renewed excitement!

Although I have long since resigned from this amazing church to lead Dare 2 Share, my friend, Rick Long, who took over as preaching pastor of this church, still gives the gospel clearly every week in every service. Thousands attend this congregation now, most of whom were led to Jesus as a result of hearing the gospel through the church or someone in the church.

Make a covenant with your church or youth group or ministry that, every single time you speak, the gospel will be given clearly. If you have guest speakers make sure they give the gospel clearly too.

When you do this, it will spike confidence in the hearts of your people to invite their friends to a place where they know their unreached friends will hear the message of Jesus.

3.  The gospel changes Christians too.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

We should never get over the cross and the empty tomb. The Good News message of Jesus is the essence of what secures our eternal salvation and our present sanctification.  In one sense, we are already saved from the penalty of sin through justification. But, in another sense, we are “being saved” from the power of sin through sanctification. 

That’s why we need to continue to hear the gospel as believers. It takes us back to the root, the cornerstone, the origin story of our faith. It reminds us that we need to keep looking to the crucified, risen and glorified Christ to keep saving us from the power of sin.

As someone once said, “I preach the gospel to myself everyday, because I forget it everyday.” The consistent preaching of the gospel transforms the believer and unbeliever alike.

The same gospel that saves the lost, sanctifies the believer. If you want a spiritually thriving church, keep taking them back to the cross, the empty tomb and what it means to “live by faith from first to last” Romans 1:17.

4.  Your people will be trained in the process.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3,4

Someone had trained Paul in the core message of the gospel (“what I also received“) and he, in turn, trained the Corinthians (“I delivered to you as of first importance….”) Paul’s relentless focus on preaching the gospel brought unbelievers to faith and helped the true believers to become fluent in the message of the gospel. And gospel fluency is necessary to effectively share the Good News clearly.

I’ll never forget a church member named Rich approaching me when I was a pastor. He told me that he had a chance to lead one of his fellow UPS drivers to Christ. I asked him, “Did you go to our evangelism training at church?” He said “No.” I asked, “Then where did you learn to share your faith?” His answer was something I’ll never forget. He said, “I listen to you give it clearly every single week. That’s how I learned to share the gospel!

If you want to see your people grow in gospel fluency, show them how by giving the gospel in a clear and compelling way every single week in every single sermon.

5.  It brings glory to God.

You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-7 NLT

When we preach the gospel and lives are changed, souls are saved and families are transformed, it “makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 

When you preach the gospel and people put their faith in Christ, God is glorified.

But, even if nobody trusts in Jesus, God is glorified. Why? Because the message of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, demonstrated the glory of God like nothing else in history. 

As Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:8-11, “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Preach the gospel. Preach it in every sermon. Preach it to advance God’s kingdom and magnify God’s glory.

And, guess what, you’ll be working on your shoe game in the process. As Ephesians 6:15 tells us, “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.

So lace those babies up and get to preaching the gospel!

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