. . . I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. ~ Acts 20:27
READING: 1 Corinthians 1:18-26
Preaching is under assault, especially in church planting. Often church planting trainers, seminars, and tapes deemphasize preaching God’s word. Instead they urge us to direct our time and efforts to the skills and techniques that will attract people to our new church. Preaching is often regarded as a hindrance.
This amounts to an undermining of our confidence that God’s word is a supernatural book, and that it is God’s word – not expensive media, sensitive marketing, or even Christian compassion – that changes lives, produces disciples and establishes churches that last.
Sure, the unbelieving world would vote against systematic study of the Bible. After all, “Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom.” Flashy “spiritual” experiences will attract a crowd. Practical advice for daily living feels like the right diet for post-moderns. But “we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but for those who are called . . . Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
In one of my church plants I tried to appeal mainly to “seekers” on Sunday morning. My heart was right, but I now believe my approach relied upon my very fallible understanding of people, instead of trusting the full counsel of God’s infallible word. I gave them a shallow, tasty snack when what they really needed was the bread of life.
People are desperate for a word from the Lord. Self-improvement techniques with a thin veneer of out-of-context Bible phrases are no substitute for the timeless, soul-penetrating, spirit-lifting, character-transforming word of God.
Being boring is a sin. Using unfamiliar Bible words without defining them is arrogance. But not giving people the full counsel of God is a tragedy that will undermine their eternal foundation.
Preach the word!
Father, Show me how to teach your word accurately, sensitively, relevantly, systematically, and reverently. Amen.
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