I regularly hear that contemporary audiences, or postmodern audiences, don’t appreciate or engage with traditional expositional approaches to preaching. It is easy to blame the change in culture, or the shift in lifestyle, or the influence of MTV or video games. People blame the diminishing attention spans, or the reduced openness to propositional truth, or the need for increased use of visual media. There’s a whole lot of blaming going on.
I want to suggest a different target for our finger pointing. Us. People who tell me they don’t appreciate expository preaching are essentially telling me they haven’t heard any worthy of the label. People who supposedly cannot concentrate for more than thirty seconds are somehow able to stick with good preaching for well over a snippet or micro-message. People who are so resistant to propositional truth seem very willing to buy into presentations of truth that are carefully designed and effectively communicated. Let’s not blame postmodernity, MTV, Nintendo Wii, or whatever. Culture is culture and culture shifts.
We need to point the finger at ourselves. People typically react against a caricature of expository preaching. They react against unnecessarily dull monologues. The solution is not to be found in gimicks, gross shrinkage of sermon length, or the random spraying of video clips. The solution is, at least in part, better preaching. Creative preaching. Biblical preaching.
The finger is pointed our way. Let’s respond well.
2 thoughts on “Don’t Blame the Wrong Thing”
Amen! I think you’re right on target with your assessment. As a preacher, I’d rather point my finger somewhere else. But a lot of the blame has to be laid squarely at my feet…
Hello – Thank you for the convicting reminder. I find that my expository preaching elicits some grumbling from my flock that it is “boring” or “I didn’t get anything out of it”. My personality is quite subdued so that tends to compound things. It is ultimately up to me to look towards improvement at every turn so that I have done all that is possible to preach well for changed lives.