In the last two posts we’ve considered Greg Haslam’s list of eight reasons why preaching is ailing. I’d like to add a couple more to the list, from my perspective. Feel free to add your thoughts.
Some don’t know how to interpret the Bible. Some preachers have the best intentions, and even good presentation skills, but are lacking in the core ability to wrestle with a biblical text and grasp its intended meaning. It’s easy to search a text for launch pads to spiritual thoughts, but it takes some prayerful skill to grasp the point as intended by the author. Hermeneutics is not a luxury for the preacher, it’s foundational.
Some don’t understand the biblical bigger picture. We live in a day of ready access to biblical information, but it takes more than a big virtual library to make a preacher. Quick access to info on a passage is one thing, holding together the big picture of the whole Bible is quite another. We need more preachers who are really people of the Book as a whole.
Some don’t know what preaching is. It’s easy to think of preaching as a form of communication, a religious pattern to be repeated each week. But what of the core elements of true preaching: the true meaning of the text, effectively communicated through the preacher’s words and life, with an emphasis on the applicational relevance to the particular listeners present, all in full reliance on the Spirit of God. Miss out one of these elements and preaching ails fast.
Some don’t care about their listeners. They say that church too easily reflects its culture. Well we live in cultures often bereft of others-centered motivation. It’s too easy to build a ministry around a core motivation of “whatever is best for me.” Preaching withers when listeners don’t matter.
There we go . . . four more things to watch for in our own ministries. Tomorrow I want to turn the tone so we don’t get discouraged! And if this list doesn’t discourage you, then be careful of pride!