LUTZ— New York pastor Jim Cymbala closed Monday evening’s session of the Florida Baptist State Convention urging Florida Baptists to “be themselves” and let the Holy Spirit bring a “fire baptism” to their ministries.
Coming down from the podium and opting to preach mostly from the floor, Cymbala, lead pastor at Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York, engaged in a straightforward and practical conversation-style message. “I want to encourage you. Don’t quit and don’t get sidetracked… You are doing the most important thing on the face of the earth,” he said.
“We are the salt of the world. We are it. God has chosen to do His work through His body, the church.”
At 81 years old and 50 years in ministry, Cymbala has a wealth of experience to share. His goal on Monday night was to speak directly and sincerely to pastors and help them avoid the mistakes he made.
He focused on Matthew 3:11 as he urged pastors to allow their ministries to be infused with the Holy Spirit and offered practical ways to welcome the Holy Spirit while warning against reverse evangelism. “The culture has evangelized the church instead of the other way around.” Culture is not what pastors need to be concerned with; preaching the gospel is, he said.
“It’s Jesus’ church,” he reminded pastors. While telling pastors to not make their ministries about themselves and their own vision and purpose for the church, he also encouraged them to be natural. “Be who you are; don’t copy anyone else, and be the same person at the pulpit and out of it because the moment you act, the Holy Spirit says, ‘Bye.’” The main thing should be to preach the gospel.
“If he’s breathing share Jesus; if he’s not leave him alone.”
A Holy Spirit baptism of ministry is not “skinny jeans and fog machines.” A Holy Spirit “fire baptism” brings light to ministry, and it brings revelation.
“May God open our eyes that we see people the way He sees them,” he said.
It’s not soulful organ music or shouting at people from the pulpit that leads them to Christ. It’s deep Bible preaching that will draw them near to their Savior. Fire penetrates. It leaves nothing behind. … That’s what we need in our churches–biblical messages that penetrate, he said.
Cymbala closed the night with an altar call to everyone who wanted that “fire baptism” and included himself in the lot. Nearly every pastor in the auditorium approached the altar prayerfully.