Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Three dying myths about preaching

Fitch has a nice post "If I Just Preach A Good Sermon-They Will Come: Three Dying Myths (of Christendom) About Preaching." You really need to read the whole post (and comments), but the three myths he says are no longer true are:
  • If you preach a good sermon the church will grow (in numbers).
  • Who you preach to is who will be in your congregation.
  • The goal of preaching is to make the Bible relevant.
He says the kind of preaching we desperately need is... "the proclaiming of the truth out of Scripture over us so as to bring the truth into being... into reality... a speaking forth of an interpretation (from Scripture) of our lives in terms of who God is, the gospel and what He is doing to bring it about in our lives and thru us into the world... It is the re-narrating of our selves corporately into God."

In other words...
The bottom line is, even if you only have ten people left, once we preach for formation, where God’s truth is birthed in and among us, we become shaped for His Mission in the world. We can see things we didn’t see before. We act out of assumptions we didn’t have before. We imagine what God is doing in ways not possible before. And the little congregation of “ten” becomes a powder-keg for Mission and the harvesting of fields ready for the gospel (the mission will grow!). Such preaching is essential to the missional community because it is the means by which the Spirit shapes a community into the reality of God, the Lordship of Christ and His Mission.

I hope I never preach a congregation down to ten people, but I do try to preach for formation. I thought this an interesting "pro-preaching" piece. Nice.


Jim said...

I was listening to the Catholic Channel on my satellite radio recently (which I often do on my commutes to and from Findlay) and heard a homily from the end of John 6.

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? 62What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."

66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.

68Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

The communication of the truth is a tricky thing sometimes it inspires people to passion and other times people struggle to accept it. I was comforted in knowing that if many left Jesus because his teaching was too difficult for them and we can be encouraged not to cheapen our message so people stay. Sorry for the rambles here. I didn't really think this through before typing.

This is a helpful post...thanks for sharing it.

dan horwedel said...

Thanks Jim. Feel free to ramble anytime.

Will you be a part of the long-range planning committee thing at WTS tomorrow? If so, I'll see you then.