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Two on Preaching

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in blog links, discipleship | 9 comments

Two on Preaching

There were (at least) two good posts last weekend about preaching and sermons:

Arthur at “The Voice of One Crying Out in Suburbia” states “Preaching the Word is not just for pastors.” His point (as the title indicates) is that all believers should take responsibility for preaching the word. This is his conclusion:

Being prepared to preach the Word, in season and out of season, is the responsibility and privilege of all Christians. It is antithetical to the witness of Scripture to restrict something so basic as proclaiming the Good News of Christ to a tiny minority in the church. As a believer in Jesus Christ, bought by His blood and regenerated by the Holy Spirit, I have the same responsibility to declare Christ to the world as Timothy or Paul. If you are His disciples, you have that same responsibility as well. Don’t let anyone tell you that your responsibility is restricted to sitting in your pew and listening to someone else.

You may notice that Arthur does not define the phrase “preach the word” that way it is often defined in churches. You see, Arthur has decided to use the NT definition and usage. So, Arthur is not talking about preaching in the same way that most churches use the term “preaching.” Instead, Arthur is saying that all believers should proclaim the gospel.

Also, Eric at “A Pilgrim’s Progress” talks about “Sermon Memory.” Eric says that he does not remember many sermons, even the ones that he’s preached. Eric says:

Why is this? Why is it difficult to remember sermons? The reason is that God did not make our brains primarily for one-way communication. I’m not suggesting that we can’t learn this way, but rather that the much better way to learn is through dialog/conversation. I think we would all agree that we retain much more information through engaging, back-and-forth conversation.

I agree with Eric on this too.

In fact, I’ll make a statement that many Christians will probably disagree with. I think the modern practice of sermonizing when the church meets (especially when the same person teaches in a monologue fashion week in and week out without discussion or dialog) is a hindrance to the growth and maturity of the church.


9 Comments

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  1. 9-7-2010

    I agree.

    I spoke with my friend who tried the less formal, more open, home church meeting this past week. He said the only thing he would have changed is he would have been more organized. By this he meant, no one really knew what to do or what was expected, so there was no real discussion. But they did sing for about 45 minutes and prayed. And he and another man commented some on a few scriptures.

    In the end, they felt a lot closer to each other (tears at times) and just being able to see everyone’s faces was great. He told me he could see himself meeting like that every Sunday.

  2. 9-7-2010

    “In fact, I’ll make a statement that many Christians will probably disagree with.”

    Unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence to prove your point about growth and maturity. Many of those that might disagree with you see and recognize it. And they are working on the next man-made program revision to deal with it. I sympathize, but I don’t see an assembly-line fix for it.

    Sol said:

    “He said the only thing he would have changed is he would have been more organized. By this he meant, no one really knew what to do or what was expected, so there was no real discussion.”

    Sol, I would encourage this brother to not feel burdened to necessarily organize the path of study, but to encourage those he is meeting with to study while they are apart and each one bring (1 Cor. 14:26). Meeting together should be a time of exhortation, encouragement and testimony. Some will be gifted to speak, some will not (or at least in different fashions). If I know you are the “scheduled” speaker, I might be lazy and not labor in the Word. If I am “scheduled”, I may tend to manufacture something to present, so it seems “organized”. If we have a meeting that no brother is prompted to teach, then we give attention to reading of the Word – just selecting a section of scripture and reading aloud. This has proven very beneficial to us and is rewarding in a different way than reading alone (by ourselves). To clarify, we also have studied through books of the Bible over several meetings or topical study over several meetings (scheduled), but these are always secondary to the Spirit leading. We also on occasion have had meetings with much more singing and/or praying as you described. So, I am saying many times I am going to meeting not knowing what to expect either – except to know that I will be with the adopted sons and daughters of God and that He will reveal Himself to us through His Word and one another.

    If we let Him.

  3. 9-7-2010

    Thanks Eric. I think that is what he needs. He kind of went in with the idea of everyone bringing something, but he really didn’t communicate that, so everyone was a bit unsure about what to do, or what was expected.

    I know the people he met with, and they all are earnest students of scripture. They all can bring a teaching, song, or whatever is needed, I think they were just uninformed about expectations, so they reverted to what they are used to, silent listening during teaching.

    I do think they made a big step when they sang. It sounds as if they all had a song ready so that they sang one song after another for nearly 45 minutes. Now they need to try transfering that level of comfort to the other areas of edification.

  4. 9-7-2010

    Preach It!!!

  5. 9-7-2010

    Alan,

    After preaching more sermons than I care to think about during the last 50 years,and listening to at least as many as I preached, I thoroughly agree with your words: “I think the modern practice of sermonizing when the church meets (especially when the same person teaches in a monologue fashion week in and week out without discussion or dialog) is a hindrance to the growth and maturity of the church.”

  6. 9-7-2010

    The pastor of the church we used to be a part of used to say that the dirty little secret in churches is that preaching is their favorite form of entertainment. He then proceeded to preach every Sunday. I don’t think I can remember anything I’ve learned from listening to someone else talk for 40-45 minutes, but I do know that I have learned and grown from discussing with my brothers and sisters.

  7. 9-7-2010

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    -Alan

  8. 9-8-2010

    Alan,

    A few years ago I excerpted from the book To Preach or Not to Preach?, unfortunately out of print. His basic discovery, after research, was exactly what you are saying: the sermon doesn’t result in spiritual growth. You can still chase the excerpts on my blog by searching on the title.

    James

  9. 9-8-2010

    James,

    I remember that series. The excerpts were very powerful.

    -Alan