“Throw strikes, home plate don’t move.” – Satchel Page. This was the sage advice given by perhaps the greatest baseball hurler in history.
You can put the best baseball team in the world on the field, you have the greatest manager and the most beautiful stadium, but if your pitcher can’t throw a strike….you have nothing.
In a desire to keep a church from declining further or from closing, I have seen churches try almost everything imaginable. It may begin with going to different conferences and attempting to copy what other people are doing. Trying to change the music, change the structure of the services, and on and on. And quite honestly, many times these things may need to change over time. But they are not the change agent. The change agent is the power of the gospel. The gospel has the power to raise dead men to life. It has the power to raise dead churches to life. Preaching the gospel and ensuring the gospel is central to everything Church does, is to use Satchels’ analogy, “throwing strikes.” And as Satchel says – Home plate never moves.
Amidst all the cultural discovery, creative communication, and cutting edge ministry that we may employ to be salt and light to our world, it is pointless if we deviate from the Gospel.
Spurgeon encouraged his students to preach the cross in every message. I often gave each of the church planters with whom I worked a copy of John Piper’s book The Passion of Jesus Christ. It contains fifty messages on the power and meaning of the cross. The cross of Jesus is enough. It is enough to save, to heal, to give hope, to give peace, to give joy, and to overcome discouragement.
You don’t have to teach your people to know everything, but they need to know, to believe, and to live as though the cross is enough. Get to the cross in every message. It is not only about salvation; it is also about life, struggle, victory, and sacrifice. And it missing in much of our preaching.
So, just throw strikes. Home plate don’t move.