If you’ve ever held a microphone, you know it doesn’t weigh that much. Though they come in different sizes, I’d say the normal mic weighs around a pound or two. Though it carries little physical heft, handling the microphone in a church setting is a weighty matter.
In a self-congratulatory culture, the only thing better than picking up a microphone is dropping it. As I’ve stated elsewhere, for the Christian preacher there are at least three reasons not to drop the mic. In fact, if you’re intent on dropping it, don’t pick it up in the first place.
The best way to get the microphone out of your hands is to hand it off.
For many people who aspire to grab the mic, letting it go is tough. You prepare for years. You pine for significance. You dream of the day when you will be the steward of the mic, and all it represents. When that day comes, you grip it tightly. Unfortunately, far too often, preachers grip the mic too tightly.
If you are responsible for a mic—as a primary preaching pastor, a youth pastor, a kid’s pastor, a Sunday school teacher, think for a minute. What is your exit strategy? How do you plan on disposing of that microphone? Are you planning on dropping it someday? Are you going to hang onto it until there is no one left listening? Will someone need to come along and pry it from your cold, dead fingers?
The only thing worse than dropping the mic may be holding onto it for too long. Don’t drop it, but don’t hold on too long. Pass it.
The Apostle Paul not only exemplified “passing of the mic,” he explicitly commanded it. His letters to Timothy and Titus are a good example of this. He tells Timothy:
…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you– He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it (Titus 1:5, 9).
Paul clearly passed the faith onto Timothy and Titus (and Philemon, Onesiphorus, Epaphras, Epaphroditus, Silas, and many others), and his call to these men was to pass it on to others. These men didn’t have a microphone as one of the tools of their trade (as modern preachers do), but if they did, Paul would’ve said: “Don’t drop it, don’t grip it too tightly, and make sure you pass it on.”
Like a baton in a relay race, there is a technique to passing the mic. Here are four practical ways to do it:
1. Don’t grip it too tightly.
If you’re responsible for a weekly teaching ministry of some sort, and you don’t regularly give away opportunities to those you’re training, you’re not passing the mic. You’re gripping it too tightly.
2. Teach others how to hold it.
It is not enough to just toss the mic to others. The handoff often gets dropped if there is not studied and practiced technique involved. Effective passing of the mic involves both handing it to others, and teaching them how to hold it, how to speak into it, and how to hand it off themselves. This requires teaching sound theology and homiletics to those sharing the mic.
3. Pray and be on the lookout for those who can handle the mic.
God is constantly calling and equipping the next generation who can and will handle the mic. God has purposed to carry on the gospel through faithful stewards for generations. The question is not if God will carry the faith on to the next generation of the church, it is whether or not you and I will faithfully execute the charge, or whether He’ll use someone else to do it. You may die still firmly gripping the mic. That doesn’t thwart God’s purposes. It just means you handled your charge less faithfully than He commands in His word.
4. Start now.
The guy who seeks out his predecessor when he’s already over the hill is the guy leading a work that may have to deal with a baton drop. The time to start developing mic-passing habits is as soon as you get a grip on it. “Get a grip” isn’t code for 50 years. Once you pick up a mic, you can start the work of passing it. Don’t be afraid. It’s not your mic anyway.