Tuesday, January 06, 2009

200 Words #6: Promote Preaching with Gravitas

DNA of a Maturing Church #6: Promote Preaching with Gravitas
Dear preacher,

Never start with a ‘little joke’, or a ‘little story’. Your message is too weighty. Learn from the Prophets, not Toastmasters; from the Apostles, not Self-Help; from Jesus, not your Top-5 downloads.

The world needs gravitas (like the Prophets), theology (like the Apostles), and truth-telling (like Jesus). We need truth and insight, not just grammar and information.

Yet, you must hug the text, like a 'bus hugs a road, or you will veer. Worse, you may crash the bus. Be expositional and exegetical. It’s not enough to cook the meal-- show your hearer’s the kitchen.

The Bible says little about assessing your 'skills'. Instead, it urges ‘doing’ (over merely listening) obeying (over appreciating); weighing-up truth (over down-loading giftedness).

We need more stethoscopes to our hearts, not MP3's to our ears.

Your task, says Buechner, is to "Tell the truth."

Preach Christ crucified and victorious. Trace the Narrative of Grace. Rail against sin and injustice. Preach a good God. The Spirit convicts sin and decants God’s love, not you. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Live deep in the world, speaking deeply to the world. Walk by grace: you struggle like us all.

Preach Jesus. He is never 'little'.

For further reading:
MPJ's 10 mistakes
JMM's Modus Operandi for Preaching.

For Scripture references, either click on the links, or see all of them by clicking HERE. (James 1:22, Ezekiel 33:30-33, 1 Corinthians 14:29, 1 Corinthians 13:1-2, Jeremiah 17:10, 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, 2 Timothy 2:8, Luke 24:25-27, James 4:8, James 5:1-6, John 16:7-11, Romans 5:5, 1 Timothy 4:16, 1 Timothy 1:15, Ephesians 3:8.)
Pic on Flickr by a.drain.


Julian said...

Wow - my only qualification is being a regular pew-sitter - and this is a remarkably controversial topic.

I would add that at my church - people often comment that they get a lot out of the question time after the service (if you're prepared to run this.)

On point #2 from TWHOP - (maybe this is just me - but it seems that) one of the things that Peter Jensen does well is to not merely exegete a text - but to pull it out as part of a whole biblical stream on that idea. (Maybe this is just basic Biblical theology). Where this makes a difference is that the APPLICATION is better. (I'm sure people better trained than I can explain this better.)


PS You left out the Mark Driscoll angry pills you'd have to take before the service! :)

Chris said...

Hey Jud, nothing erks me more than irrelevant witty anecdote at the start of a sermon. The "let me spend 5 minutes telling you something funny that happened to me when I visited a farm" which then moves into "today's reading had Jesus telling a parable about a farmer"

Justin said...

Thanks both.

Chris -- oh, yes, totally! Even worse when its not witty.