I think Jeff has a point.
Sometimes I really wonder about the preaching I hear in some churches.
First — let me make sure we both understand that I am not in the least “anti-” contemporary worship in terms of the modern church, i.e.:….
- Worship band
- More “rock” style music
- Projected worship songs
- Screens with the preaching notes
- “Contextualized” messages
I see value in all these things and have used all of them myself.
Having said that I am very disturbed at times when I hear watch a broadcast of — or hear a podcast of — a church service that has all the “bells and whistles” then hear a 15-20 minute “message” or “teaching” that is on the level of what I would hear in a first year homiletic class — or is well presented — just it is only an inch and half deep theologically.
I know you have to fit the message to your audience. Some congregations have a large percentage of those who are very young in their faith — they cannot go real deep …..
or can they?
At times I think we use this as an excuse not to do the hard work ourselves (meaning preachers) and do the study required to have a depth and background so we are capable of tackling some hard things.
I recently heard a great message on sexual roles and identities. It was a hard topic to handle. The speaker did it well. He also noted at the beginning of the message that the sermon was possibly a PG-13 message and children’s church was taking new clients.
He also noted that many would leave with questions. He encouraged them. He even challenged those who were new to faith in the audience to “give me a break” and “don’t write me off or judge me on a 25 minute presentation”. He offered to buy coffee for anyone who seriously wanted to set up a time for further discussion.
Jesus taught this way.
He presented teachings that made some mad.
These teachings sometimes caused some to be confused.
He even had to ask the immediate circle of 12 if they wanted to “leave me also”.
Disciples are made by raising the bar. Not every day — every time — but consistently making the hearer stretch. Constantly giving the hearer something they have to mull over in the car on the way home.
If we (preachers) cannot keep peoples attention with the excitement of God’s very Word — we need to rethink our preaching.
If we only preach in a style that doesn’t offend and that is designed to draw bigger and bigger crowds to hear “our message” — we’ve missed the mark.
God’s Word is sword — not a light show…..