A Thought for Preaching



Someday, I hope to be a preacher for real, but until then, all I can really do is just practice when I have the opportunity and learn from others. I’m doing whatever I can to learn what it takes to be a pastor, especially since I’ll be in my late 30’s or early 40’s when I join the pastorate.

Because of that, I will periodically suggest some ideas for your feedback. Now is the time to be brutally honest so that I don’t make crazy mistakes when the time comes. The next six years present an opportunity for me to learn now so I don’t have to learn later. And yes, I know…I’ll still make mistakes and nothing replaces real experience. Having said that, I was thinking about something…

I have preached both topical and expository messages in various opportunities that I’ve been given. I have read that expository preaching is great for edification, but not really good for evangelism when the unbeliever may not believe in the validity of the Scripture. In those cases, it is better to preach topically as a way of introducing the Bible to the unbeliever. I think I agree with that, based on my experience on the ship.

However, I think that edification is vital and someday, these unbelievers (assuming that at least some of them have become believers) will need to grow and accept the truth of all Scripture. Therefore, I would like to incorporate expository preaching often. So here is my thought:

Why not have one Sunday per month (or per quarter, depending) where I preach a message that introduces unbelievers to the Gospel. All sermons will be in some way applicable to the life of an unbeliever or young believer, but once a month, my congregation knows they can bring anyone…ANYONE…into service and that person will hear the Gospel. Naturally, the date would be announced well before hand, or even become a scheduled event so that the congregation knows when to bring their unsaved friends.

So what do you think? Good idea? Or stick to some other method of planning sermons? I need the thoughts of both preachers and folks in the pew on this so that I can start refining my thoughts on this issue. Thanks!

13 comments:

Don the Baptist said...

Good idea. As pastor of a congregation your responsibility is to nurture the body. MOST evangelism takes place relationally, outside the Sunday service. However, evangelistic preaching speaks to the seekers who attend AND inspires the believers as well. Give 'em Heaven!

Dan said...

I agree about where evangelism takes place (or should take place). It isn't the pastor's job to witness to my friends...it's my job. Still, I think that having a sermon once a month or quarter where we can do corporate evangelism would be a good idea. Thanks for your thoughts!

1pritts2u said...

I suggest you give a listen to a few of the Calvary Chapel - Heritage movement pastors like Ed Taylor, Raul Reese, and of course Chuck Smith. Expository preaching almost always can incorporate a strong kingdom message and a call somewhere in the sermon.. in the right hands!

Dan said...

Ok, I'm not against that...I'll take a gander!

Rev. Mike said...

One of my friends is an associate minister at another church. He told me that they have three services each Sunday. One service focuses mainly on praise and worship. The second is more of a teaching/ espository type sermon. And the last is more of an evangelical "come to Jesus" type of service. The senior pastor usually preaches two out of three of the services. Of course he is exhausted at the end of the day but he tries to give all of the people something to chew on at their spiritual level.

Dan said...

Mike, I'll admit...that tires me out just reading your comment! I like his system, where at any given time a person could bring a seeker to a Sunday service. Obviously I'm a ways from preaching regularly, but this is good information. Thanks!

Eric said...

Your idea is fine as it stands. However, I don't see a strict dichotomy between expository preaching and gospel presentation. Every evangelistic sermon I ever heard from Billy Graham was expository, although he obviously made it relevant to unbelievers. Also, most of my church life has been under expository preaching and I've noticed that even then the gospel comes up pretty regularly.

Dan said...

I have started to feel the same way you describe, Eric. In fact, I'm thinking that expository preaching might benefit an unbeliever because he/she won't have to flip around the Bible as much and be confused. So at the most, perhaps I should pick passages that are evangelical in nature and continue with the expository format. This is something I will continue to think about.

A. Amos Love said...

Dan

You write...

“I’m doing whatever I can to learn what it takes
to be a pastor, especially since I’ll be in
my late 30’s or early 40’s when I join the pastorate.”

And...

“Now is the time to be brutally honest so that I don’t make crazy mistakes when the time comes.”

Hmmm? Pastorate? Brutally honest?

Did anyone in the Bible join the pastorate?

It is written in the prophets,
And they shall be all taught of God.
John 6:45

Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,
that he might instruct thee:
Deuteronomy 4:36

Dan - You've chosen an “impossible” profession, Pastor.
Impossible if you "really" love Jesus?
(aka. Love the truth.)

For some it’s a job, a career,
a way to feel good about themselves.

But, if you love Jesus, and the truth,
the pain, the concern, the frustrations, are unbearable.
Only God knows the secret motives of our hearts.
And us, sometimes.

I have seen the dangers of "Titles,"
of being known as “pastor/leader.”
Spiritual abuse for both the "pastor/leader"
and those “being led.”

I'm not not new to "ministering healing"
to those who have been “abused” by those
who called themselves “pastor/leader."

Folks who have been *burnt,** burnt out,*
* kicked out,* or *crawled out* of "the religious system."
With it's leaders, submission to spiritual authority,
tithes and offerings, and other unbiblical
"heavy weights" put on folks shoulders.

I also spend a fair amount of time with pastors,
"so called leaders," who can't do it anymore.
Trying to run the show and please so many masters.

Trying to please the denominational leaders,
the congregation, the congregations leaders,
your own family, and of course Jesus.
Who is often relegated to last place. Hmmm?

Serving so many masters, that's tough; Yes?

Preaching every week... and it better be good,
being the CEO, the team leader, counseling,
marrying, burying, smiley face. etc. etc.

If "pastors/leaders" (as we see them today) are of God?
He's not taking very good care of His shepherds; Is He?

This is info from a website helping burned out pastors.

PastorCare offers support and encouragement
for pastors and their families.

At PastorCare we care about YOU and we want to help.

http://www.pastorcare.org/PastorCare/About_Us.html

According to the Francis A. Schaeffer
Institute of Church Leadership (2007)
• 77% say they do “not” have a good marriage.
• 71% have felt burned out or depressed.
• 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
• 40% report a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
• 38% are divorced or seriously considering divorce.

According to the Ministering to Ministers Foundation...
• Over 1600 pastors in the U.S.
are forced out of their positions each month.
• Nearly 1 in 4 pastors experience a forced termination at least once during their ministry.
•Only 54% of pastors go back into full-time
church related positions.

Think we might have a problem with “pastor/leader?”

Part 1

A. Amos Love said...

Part 2

Read that again. This is not possible.
77% say they do “not” have a good marriage.
70% of pastors feel depressed or burnt out.
70% Don't have a close friend. Hmmm?

That's who is running the show.
That's who is “abusing” God's sheep and being abused.

1600 pastors a month, that's 19,000 a year,
leave or are pushed out. Wow!!!
That's a lot of broken hearts, disappointments,
feelings of failure, pain, abuse.

Hmmm? Today's “Pastor/leader,”
is this a “Title” or "position" in the scriptures?

Have you done your own study on pastors?
I mean in the Bible?
What does the Bible say about pastors?

Makes an interesting study.
Here’s some questions to ask as you check out pastors.

In the Bible,
How many people... join the pastorate?
How many people... have the title pastor?
How many people are... referred to as pastor?
How many people are... ordained as a pastor?
How many congregations are... led by a pastor?

Be blessed in your search for truth... Jesus

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice;
and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
John 10:16

One Fold - One Shepherd - One Voice.
If Not Now, When?

Eric said...

Yesterday I invited someone to church (basically by accident). It gives me another thought. If she comes, I'm not so worried about what Don (or someone else since he's camping in the desert) speaks on. I would hope she sees our love and fellowship (ala John 13:35). This leads to the thought that if you make a deal out of having a "gospel day" will people only want to bring friends on that day? Hopefully, instead, they'll invite always but make a special push for the gospel days, but I'm not sure, human nature being what it is.

Dan said...

Amos,
Our context in this post is expository preaching vs topical preaching. Do you have thoughts on that? As for the search...I found Jesus, some years ago, and he and I are on good terms.
Please feel free to present discussion points on expository vs topical preaching.
Dan

Dan said...

Eric,
I agree that love and fellowship are important, especially as that is how people are drawn into the church. The thing I'm concerned about is how people are taught the truth, especially as it relates to people who are seeking. But I do like your point. Maybe it shouldn't matter as long as I'm preaching truth. Thanks for the help!