Tag Archives: preaching
For years church leaders tried to convince us that being a hip, trendy, and relevant church was the key to doing church right. It was about professional bands, cool video graphics, and more ministry choices than you can fit on one bulletin page. But after many years and many failures even the well-respected church growth guru’s are admitting that it’s really about the preaching.
But not just any preaching. The trendy “talks” that cite one Bible verse then shares stories, jokes, and illustrations for 40 minutes are also failing. What people are really looking for is teaching from the Bible that expounds the Scriptures and connects them with daily life. In other words, expository preaching. What exactly is expository preaching?
The reality is that the churches’ silence on many of the difficult, controversial topics of our day has created a vacuum that is being filled by secularists and others that see the Bible as a book of fairy tales. Because more pastors are not willing to address tough topics – they don’t produce warm fuzzies – many young believers are left to fend for themselves when it comes to being educated about these topics. The drive inside many churches to avoid conflict is a misguided attempt to produce unity. Pastors believe if they only focus on the main issues in Scripture that the church will be united. Two decades of this mentality has proven otherwise.
I’ll be the first to say that issues such as abortion, gay marriage, gender identity and immigration are tough. Some of these the Bible speaks directly to; others are not so clear. But the one thing I am absolutely convinced of is that clear guidance can be gleaned from the pages of Scripture. But it takes a man dedicated to clearly communicating what the Bible does say about these topics, and a willingness to teach the biblical principles concerning each topic regardless of public opinion.
You are never going to believe this. A new study reveals a major problem among Christians and those who regularly attend church> It’s probably not what you are thinking either.
Sure, we all have problems, no one is perfect and no one goes through a day without making a mistake. But one of the biggest problems plaguing Christians right now could very well be the source of many other issues happening among the family, community, and culture.
According to a new LifeWay Research study, only about 45% of people that claim to attend church regularly say they read the Bible more than once a week. In other words, 55% of people attending church regularly don’t pick their Bible up at any other time than on Sunday. A recent article reports:
How would you answer this question: “Is your church healthy?”
Odds are if someone asked you that question you would quickly, and enthusiastically say that your church is a wonderful, loving place where everyone gets along and Jesus is King. And that may be true. But the question is whether or not your church is healthy. That means taking a closer, honest, look at the inner workings of the church and seeking to assess whether things are working properly or not.
I’ve been in dozens of churches in my life. As a pastor’s kid I have more memories of church and church-related things than I do anything else. (That’s another topic for another post.) What I can honestly say is that I have rarely been part of a church I would say is healthy. More often than not churches are not healthy and in need of some help. The difficulty seems to be diagnosing the problem so that proper steps can be taken to rectify the situation.
Thankfully some help is out there. In a recent article for The Gospel Coalition, Pastor Kevin DeYoung shared “9 Marks of an Unhealthy Church” along with some thoughts on how to diagnose each problem. This doesn’t mean every possible struggle a church could face is listed – there are only 9 after all. But this is a good place to start.
One of the reasons I believe the church is falling apart and the lives of Christian husbands, wives, children and families are deteriorating out of control is this: there is no conviction in our sermons.
At one time there was boldness born of conviction in the sermons delivered from church pulpits that called people to repentance and brought about Holy Spirit conviction in people. Today we have so many touchy-feely, feel-good sermons being delivered that conviction is lost. Too many pastors want to be hip, befriend everyone, or keep the peace. Too few pastors want to teach and preach the Gospel centered message of repentance and holy living.
What’s the result?
I can see two diverse outcomes from this lack of Gospel-centered, bold, convicting preaching. The first is the “us against them legalist” that makes sure everyone in the church knows that if you stray from the church defined “straight and narrow” you are wrong, and sinful. This church is easy to spot as its small, generally characterized as dying, refuses to embrace anything remotely cultural in an effort to reach people, and tends to rail against specific sins while ignoring others.