The trending story in the world of sports is the incredible (or, Lincredible, to use the coined word) emergence of Jeremy Lin as a star point guard for the New York Knicks of the NBA.
A skilled high school player, Lin failed to secure a scholarship offer from top basketball schools (including the Univeristy of Kentucky). He attended Harvard, played ball, and graduated; then was overlooked again in the NBA draft.
Lin managed to secure as place on one team after another until finding a seemingly permenant place at the end of the bench for the New York Knicks. The Knicks are not one of the premiere teams in professional basketball but they are home of one of the premiere guards, Carmelo Anthony (the same Anthony who, as a college freshman, led Syracuse to the NCAA championship).
Then Carmelo Anthony got injured, and Jeremy LIn was pressed into service. That was seven games ago, and what Lin has done is nothing short of astounding. He has led the Knicks to 7 straight wins, leading them in scoring and assists, while setting a new NBA record for total points scored by an NBA player in his first 6 starts. Lin-mania has swept through New York and Tiawan (his home country). Suddenly, Knicks number 17 is the most purchased jersey in the entire NBA.
When asked by a reporter what he plans to do after his basketball career is over, Lin said: “I want to be a pastor.”
Perhaps we can persuade him to preach at one of our Festivals, perhaps the New York Festival of Young Preachers scheduled for September of 2013.
And perhaps his story can help us look down the benches in our churches toward those who are waiting their chance to preach.
Yesterday I received a Facebook message from a Young Preacher: “I am a young preacher,” he wrote, “but my pastor will not let me preach.” The young man and I had a short exchange, and I gave him what advice and encouragement I could; but as I wrote to him I thought about Jeremy Lin.
What as-yet-unknown talent is sitting, waiting to be called up, waiting to be directed toward a pulpit, waiting to be assigned a preaching post?
This question animates much of our mission here at the Academy of Preachers. “Let them wait their turn,” one older preacher told me several years ago. But I say not. It is time to give the Jeremy Lin’s of the ministerial world their shot at Gospel preaching. Goodness knows, most churches and congregations need a fresh voice.
Does the church have a future? One author recently asked in a rhetorical promotion of a book.
The most hopeful future of the Christian movement is one led by the Young Preachers who are aflame with the Gospel of God.