By Arron Chambers
Christian leaders, some of them preachers themselves, tell us about a sermon they can’t forget—and maybe you won’t either.
Shawn Grant is a walking cliché: born on Saturday, in church on Sunday. His father, Mike Grant, has been preaching in Stone-Campbell churches for more than 35 years, and Shawn decided to follow suit. He became a follower of Christ in elementary school. He received a BA in preaching and Bible from Florida Christian College (now Johnson University Florida), an MA in church history/historical theology from Lincoln (Illinois) Christian Seminary, and a PhD in interdisciplinary humanities from Florida State University in Tallahassee. He currently teaches humanities classes at several colleges and universities, and serves as lead pastor of Crossbridge Christian Church, Tallahassee.
Shawn’s Best Sermon: The best sermon on rethinking witness is by Michael Frost; it can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdzzWEtdOrU. Frost is a leader in the missional movement, cofounder of the missional training group known as Forge, and founding director of the Tinsley Institute, a mission study center located at Morling College in Sydney, Australia.
Why Shawn likes this sermon: “Many of the people who fill our church gatherings every week know of the Christian call to evangelism. Almost as many have a desire to fulfill that calling. Most people, however, simply do not know where to begin. Michael Frost draws distinction between the universal call to evangelism and the unique gifts granted to the evangelist. Frost serves as a teacher, historian, and a prophetic voice encouraging those uniquely gifted as evangelists, while simultaneously calling all followers of Christ to live such extraordinary lives that people begin to ask questions regarding the hope that we have.”
Greg Marksberry is lead planter of Thrive Church in Lake Nona, Florida, set to launch on October 16. He also directs Florida Church Partners, a church planting organization with a vision to help plant 225 new congregations in the state by 2030. As the FCP website describes him, Greg has been engaged in church planting movements since 1997 as a church planter, church planting coach and mentor, and a regional director and board member for several leading church planting organizations. He is passionate about pouring into the next generation of church planters and giving his life to a church planting movement in Florida, the third largest state in the nation.
Greg’s Best Sermon: The best sermon on church planting and children is by Greg Nettle, president of Stadia; it can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/163593991.
Why Greg likes this sermon: “This message weaves a compelling sense of urgency to reach the world’s exploding population and Christ’s genuine compassion for children into a powerful vision for church planting. It was delivered during my last mission emphasis as lead pastor of First Christian Church, Burlington, Kentucky, and influenced my decision to plant a new church focused on the 4 to 14 Window.”
Scott Bloyer grew up playing football and fighting his way through high school. At age 21, when he came home from a bar fight, his mother told him he was going to end up dead or in jail if he didn’t give his life to Jesus. He got down on his knees and said, “If you are real, God, I can’t do this anymore on my own.”
Scott later became a youth pastor for 17 years. In 2008 God called him to start a church, and he moved with his family back to the neighborhood where he grew up; he started Elevation Christian Church in Aurora, Colorado, on October 10, 2010.
While working to start Elevation, Scott trained fighters to compete in mixed martial arts. Through this job, Scott has been invited to be a part of local fighting events and has worked with some of the top MMA and Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters in the world. Several have started a relationship with Jesus and attended Elevation.
Scott has a passion to see men come to know Jesus and lead in the local church, and to see churches planted all over. In the first five years of Elevation, 250 people have been baptized
Scott’s Best Sermon: The best sermon on leadership and the leader was “Dead Leader Running” by Wayne Cordeiro of New Hope in Hawaii. The sermon was presented at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit and is available at http://bit.ly/24Ag6Rl.
Why Scott likes this sermon: Many leaders are suffering in silence, Scott says. “Wayne does a great job of bringing this area of leadership to the forefront. It impacted me because of the position I hold and because of the leaders I see and meet with who are struggling.”
Terry Davis has been working with students for 25 years. He currently serves as the teaching/student minister at Journey Christian Church, Greeley, Colorado, where he lives with his wife of 24 years, Tammy, and their four children. He loves Jesus, U2, the 1980s, watching his three boys run (they are all really fast), and building things out of old pallets.
Terry’s Best Sermon: The best sermon I ever heard on Jesus was by Mark Driscoll, former pastor of Mars Hill Church. The sermon, called “Why Did Jesus Come to Earth (Vintage Jesus),” is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBCwhEn3W4E.
Why Terry likes this sermon: “I grew up in the church. I went every Sunday. After graduation I went to Bible college and upon graduation went straight into ministry. I have known who Jesus is my entire life. I have heard stories and sermons, watched movies, sung songs, listened to lectures, and even taught lessons and preached sermons about Jesus, but I never really completely understood who he was and why he came to earth until hearing this sermon. It has been transformational to life and ministry.”
Nick Newman began his relationship with Christ at age 18 after years of battling drug addictions. He was charged as a drug dealer and was on track to spend much of his life in the prison system. However, God had other plans! On August 1, 2011, Nick had a personal encounter with Jesus and jumped straight into ministry. In September 2015 Nick and his team launched a life-giving church in the high school from which he was expelled. Nick, at 23, is the lead pastor of Propel Church in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina (www.propel.church).
Nick’s Best Sermon: The best sermon on marriage is by Chris Brown of Bayside Church in Sacramento, California. The sermon is available at www.baysideonline.com/weekend/chris-brown-until-death-do-us-part/.
Why Nick likes this sermon: “One of the most used sentences I hear in counseling married couples is ‘we just fell out of love.’ In this message, Chris lays it out for us pretty clearly: ‘We don’t fall out of love, we fall out of emotion.’ When you build the foundation of your marriage on emotion, it won’t last.”
Arron Chambers, a CHRISTIAN STANDARD contributing editor, serves as lead minister with Journey Christian Church, Greeley, Colorado.