Saturday, May 14, 2005


Preaching As Blog Fodder

WOW! I seemed to really have stirred up a discussion with my challenge on preaching that went up last Sunday.

Adrian Warnock passed it on.

Tranforming Sermons posted two responses here and here, and had one closely related post.

Unveiled Face responded directly and then responded to some comments on that response.

New guy Broken Messenger jumped in with both feet here and here.

Postscript Posthaste had some comments and an invitation.

Dark Glasses reacts violently but does not disagree with me nearly as much as he thinks he does.

Probably the most interesting information I find in all that discussion is that nobody took up my challenge directly. Nor do I find anything in all of that that I would disagree with much.

I am guessing that there is something in how I said it that sparked all that reaction. Unveiled Face says, I think, pretty much the same thing I am saying. Mick seems to have a gentler tone about it, so I refer those with violent reactions to him for clarification.

Dark Glasses is the only one that even claims to disagree with me, but as I read his post, I think he disagrees only with one phrase -- "church is not for seekers." I certainly agree with all his comments about relationships in evangelism -- that is precisely what I mean when I say "send out the found to find the unfound." I also agree that it takes much more than preaching to produce maturity -- I have been around and around with Adrian about that particular topic -- check either of our archives.

I wish I could find a thread in all of this great discussion to pick up on and respond to, but there is just too much, and it is all pretty good. I think I'll just try and clarify a few things.

Broken Messenger draws a distinction between preaching and teaching that I think sheds some useful light. (As a side note, Broken Messenger accuses me of stealing his post title with a minor modification, but fails to note that the modification I made makes it a complete rip-off of Francis Schaeffer. BTW, I think he should consider a new name -- Broken Messenger is a lot to type, and I refuse to use the initials.)

What light is that? Which one of those functions, if either, is appropriate for a Sunday morning? Well, that very much depends if you consider the service for the found or the unfound, doesn't it. If for the found, you teach, if the unfound, you preach - at least using the definitions Messenger has laid out.

Bottom line is this, I have yet to see a church that calls Sunday Morning anything other than a "worship" service. By definition, the unfound do not engage in worship -- we want them to, desparately, but they have to become found to even want to worship God. And that, in the end is why church is for the found, not the unfound.

When I worked for Young Life, our job was to make believers out of kids and then hand them off to the church, where they could achieve maturity. Instead, what happened was we were so successful in YL that the churches began to imitate us. The new believers fell away, and I had a hard time finding a place to go to aid me in my spiritual battle. That does not sound to me how things are supposed to work.

There is a reason I am not a pastor. That job has got to be the toughest job in the world. Rendered so tough because most people want to come and have church done to them, instead of coming and being the church. Virtually all the pastors I know respond to that in one of to ways. Either they try then to do all there is to do in the church -- visit, counsel, teach, preach, manage, serve..., or they start calling themselves preachers and give up on everything but planning Sunday morning services and those service become the current day equivalent of a tent revival. In the current climate this later option puts more seats in the pews, so that tends to be the way most go.

21st Century Reformation has been carrying on lately that the "job description" for the church is to make disciples, not just believers. I think he is dead on with this one.

I think this is the greatest challenge facing the church today -- how to produce disciples not just believers. Disciples are produced by far more than what comes from the pulpit on Sunday morning, with that I have no arguement, but I will contend that what comes from the pulpit is integral to the process.

Further, discipleship is the only way a pastor can get help with all those other functions -- he has to make his helpers. That process will not produce rapid growth and great success by worldly standards -- but I think it will by God's.

The church has a lot to do, evangelism is a very important among those tasks. All I am saying is that Sunday morning worship is not the time for that task.


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