October is one of the greatest months for sports: college football, NFL, basketball is knocking at the door, and the MLB playoffs are almost always full of drama.
(Allow me to take one moment to say that it is great to have an October without the Yankees!!!)
With baseball on the mind, I thought I would share with you a conversation that I have had with a few preacher friends over the past few weeks. We have enjoyed comparing preachers and their preaching-styles to MLB pitchers. Keep in mind, the comparisons are with the pitcher's pitching-style, not their personality.
Enjoy the following, and I welcome your comments.
1) Rick Ross (my dad) is the Andy Petitte of preaching. (No, Rick doesn't take preacher-roids.)
Their styles are both smooth and fluid. Petitte has one of the best pitching motions in all of baseball--calm and collective. You know that you are going to get a quality start every time these two go to work.
2) Rick Atchley is the Randy Johnson of pitching.
It's a toss up when it comes to which one is better looking. :) (Just playing, Rick)
You know what is coming when he steps on the mound--the inside-heater. Rick is aggressive and intense. Yes, he is going to make you laugh and he is a good illustrator/story-teller, but he is coming at you with 3 fastballs, and you know it. He speaks with the voice of a prophet and he is going to tell you how things are, what God says about it, and what it means for your life. He is coming at your heart with conviction and with power, and he will brush you off the plate.
3) My man, Cope, is your Greg Maddox. Mike is going to work the count. He has a few solid pitches and he is going to use them to his advantage. He is going to take you on a journey every single time he stands in front of people. There are times when you wonder where he is going with the sermon, but before you know it you find yourself immersed in the unfolding drama.
As with Greg Maddox, who isn't afraid to let batters fall behind 3-0 before coming back in the count, there are times with Cope's preaching that you will think you are getting away with a powerful word from the Lord for that day, but before you know it, the word will be all over you.
One more thing, like Maddox, if Cope hits you, it is on purpose. :)
4) Randy Harris is Your Johan Santana.
He is going to bring his best stuff every day and you expect him to be on the mound for all 9 innings. I don't know of anyone who has the endurance that Randy has. The guy travels every weekend to preach and/or speak at conferences, he teaches a full load, he writes, and he is one of the best spiritual coaches you'll find. I don't know if I have ever seen Randy with a "b" game. God is that good in him!
For those of you reading, which is your favorite Randy sermon--Mark 8 or 2 Cor.1? He could preach them both in his sleep.
5) Jeff Walling is your Dennis Eckersley.
Eckersley is one of the best closers the game has ever seen. He also had a funny/unique pitching style. Walling is unique in that he is a stand-up comedian who can preach. One moment you will be holding your side because you're laughing so hard...the next moment you will be holding your heart because of the powerful words.
Also, Walling is a closer. If you have ever been at a youth rally with Walling, he will get people to respond. He will call for you to--"let go of the pew in front of you because you know that God is working on your heart and he wants you to give your life to Jesus."
I wasn't alive to hear Jimmy Allen, so I don't know if that would be a fair comparison, but Walling often preaches to close-the-deal.
6) Jerry Taylor is your Mariano Rivera.
He isn't your closer like Walling, but he preaches in a way that builds and builds and builds until in the 9th inning, you are ready to jump out of your seat.
Jerry has the cadence and the rhythm to lead you to the mountaintop. He preaches in a way that will make the gospel come to life in ways that you could have never imagined.
I'll stop there. My apologies go to Seidman, Graves, Luke, Charlton, and all of you other preachers who were left off of this post. My imagination only goes so far. :)
However, for all of you baseball/preacher fans, feel free to add your own comparisons.