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?!?
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.