Supplements and Substitutes

Back to the diet theme (perhaps I am actually hungry as I type this post!) Last week I referred to vegetables and chocolate.  While in Sri Lanka I scanned my way through an enjoyable book entitled Preach It! by Stuart Briscoe.  In it (page 18), he makes the following point:

“Alternative methods of communicating and participating, which may be perfectly valid and helpful as supplements to preaching, have been installed as substitutes for preaching.  That makes no more sense than exchanging a bottle of dietary supplements for a healthy diet of solid food.”

I have to say that I stand firmly with Stuart on this issue.  There are many supplemental approaches to feed the church with Scripture, and I am a fan of most.  Home group and small group Bible studies can be very helpful.  Seminars and classes can provide valuable input.  Reading programs, personal devotional notes, pastor’s blogs, etc.  All helpful supplements.

But these are not substitutes for preaching.  The healthy church needs a steady diet of well prepared Biblical content delivered by an appropriate form of biblical preaching.  The Christian faith is a faith based on revelation, it is a faith with preaching at its centre.

You may be growing tired at the lack of response to your preaching.  You may be discouraged by the sense that preaching doesn’t do what you pray it will in peoples’ lives.  Don’t give up on preaching.  By all means look to improve it, get training, read helpful material, listen to good role models, but don’t give up on it.  Whether it is obvious or not, your church needs solid and relevant biblical preaching if it is to be healthy.  You don’t see your children grow with every meal, but you will see the difference if you give up on meals altogether!

One thought on “Supplements and Substitutes

  1. I’ve been wrestling with this idea for quite some time now…

    What is the fundamental difference between a sermon and a small group Bible study? Is it a difference of essence or simply of form/media?

    “The Christian faith is a faith based on revelation, it is a faith with preaching at its centre”. What is the role of the coma in this sentence? Is it basically two different propositions, or is the second meant like an implication of the first.

    “The healthy church needs a steady diet of well prepared Biblical content delivered by an appropriate form of biblical preaching.” What are the main NT passages that make the case for the centrality of preaching in the local church?

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