Friday, November 12, 2010

The Preaching Event

We don't come to expect much as the preacher walks onstage, do we? We don't expect a life changing encounter. We don't expect a riot to ensue. We don't expect the powers and principalities to come in and shut down the service because something too revolutionary has been spoken.

The truth is: We don't expect much of anything!!

Our young people don't dream of becoming preachers. What excitement is there in that kind of life? How will I see concrete evidence of success as a preacher? It's just a 30 minute speech!

Our best and brightest are not studying to become preachers. They're challenged to become doctors, lawyers, politicians, professors, and teachers. And let me just say, we need Godly people in all of these positions. Everyone is a minister. Everyone is a missionary. But we also need preachers and the well is drying up.

Regardless of what many believe, I believe the world needs more better sermons. I don't think the sermon should be boring. It should be an electric moment of anticipation. I don't think people should have to sit through a sermon so they can go to lunch.

Just a 30 minute speech?!?

Hardly.

The sermon should be an event that rattles your cage, disturbs you, comforts you, inspires you, and provokes you. When the prophets and Jesus spoke, you didn't just sit back and evaluate the sermon. You were caught up in something because the communicator was caught up something.

Now, we might not want a preacher who rattles our cage. I know of people who come to church to be creatively reminded of what they already know. There are people in our churches who believe it's the job of a preacher to say what they already believe better than they can say it themselves.

That's pandering, not preaching! That's itching ears, not prodding hearts!

Some have pronounced the death of preaching. But I'm not ready to preach the sermon's eulogy yet.

We need more young people who can imagine a new kind of preaching. Not a preaching that confirms old traditions. Not a preaching that will ensure a larger auditorium in the next five years. We need preachers who are so wooed by the story of God in Scripture that they can't help but paint a vivid picture of God's burden for humanity to a congregation parched for the living water.

Thoughts?

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7 comments:

Wayne said...

Thanks Collin. Nice to hear this from a young man that isn't just out to bash the previous generation of preachers. Remember what drove YOU to preach. That will encourage other young me to preach as well.

seanpalmer said...

Colin,

It's interesting. This has not been my experience - particularly in the church where we are now. If anything, TOO MUCH attention is given to the sermon. I'm sure it has more to do with the history of the church than their current preacher. I have noticed that ministering in such an enormously unchurched area, people are anxious and eager to hear preaching and teaching both.

You're dead on about the number of young people interested in preaching. Another component is relational. Not enough preachers spend time with high school and young adult students - that was the case with me. One of the reasons I went into youth ministry was that it was the form of ministry I knew and understood.

Thanks for posting.

Ray Hardin said...

Wonderfully crafted thoughts and words.

Steve said...

Aloha, Collin!

This evening I was blessed to have dinner with Randy Lowry and we were discussing this very thing. From his unique perspective, the potential preacher well is indeed drying up, at least as far as intention/ambition is concerned, and virtually everyone who wants to go into ministry these days wants to go into youth ministry.

However, as I discovered personally after getting a Bible degree with no intention of ever becoming a preacher, with such privileges come responsibilities (might I even dare say obligations?) and God has a way of working with circumstances as well as people to raise up a new generation of able proclaimers whenever and wherever He needs them.

Over about three decades of ministry I've also noted that a good number of the most effective preachers I've met started out in youth ministry and ended up in the pulpit almost against their will, at least initially.

I'm just so very thankful that God has condescended to work with and through ones such as us! I appreciate your service for Him at Littleton. Preach the Word, brother!

In His mercy,
Steve (Tim's dad)

Collin Packer said...

Thanks for the comments!

Sean - I absolutely believe the relational piece plays a role. As our churches have become larger and more professional, the preacher "doesn't have the time" to build relationships. Youth ministers have filled that gap and done so very well.

Steve - Randy Lowry and Lipscomb are making some great strides on this issue.

Bimlesh said...

Good stuff...have been reading your blog and it is a sermon in itself. God has definitely put a special anointing upon you. In the words of Wesley, "when a preacher is on fire, people will come to see him burn".
Hope to meet you in person...Lord willing!!

Collin Packer said...

Great to hear from you, Bimlesh! Kraig and Debbie Lucas have great things to share about you, your family, and your ministry. May God bless you today! As our missionary, you are constantly in my prayers!