In my previous post, The Preacher’s Dilemma, I suggested that there ought to be a plan that would prompt preachers to teach through the Biblical text and assist in that heavy decision of what to speak each week from the pulpit.
Preachers need direction. The problem with just drifting from series to series, topic to topic is that we are working from within the bookends of our prominent knowledge. Preachers know a lot more than they ever talk about from the pulpit, but most of us have favorite subjects. We also have those subjects we do not like to talk about very much. Without direction, we veer toward our strong suit. And that is a problem for the faithful parishioner who is hearing these messages each week. It robs them of hearing a well-rounded message spoken to the church. It is in the neglected areas of our preaching that weaknesses in the local church can develop.
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. ~Hebrews 2:1
Preacher-types are as diverse a group as you can find. What inspires one will seem dismal to the other. Beyond the common convictions about the sacredness of the text, there is a great divide. Just as pulpits take different shapes and colors, every preacher over time carves out their own method for planning and preaching sermons. I am not writing to argue against that. Preaching is a most personal exercise. But if I want to escape the highly personalized selections for Sunday’s texts, I need to turn to some other means of text selection.
What I’m going to suggest will sound odd to most of my Church of Christ / Christian Church / Restoration Movement friends. I grew up as a part of the churches of Christ, attended a college associated with that fellowship, and have spent all of my Christian life within that fellowship. A group that highly values individualistic religion, whose congregations are autonomous, and who eschew evangelicalism for the most part, I have had very little acquaintance with ancient church traditions that are very common to other Christians. And yet, not so ancient that it is out of touch with contemporary needs.
“What is the chief end of preaching? I like to think it is this: It is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence.” ~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones
What if there was a rhythm of reading the Scriptures that drew into sync many Christian traditions? What if that rhythm had ancient roots and that by following that path one would be observing a rich heritage of Christians and even the ancient Jews of the days before Christ? What if the selection of texts throughout the church year led you through the life of Christ each year, continuing to reinforce His central place in our hearts and in the life of the body of believers? I’m interested.
Remember, I’m not looking for something to preach outside the Scriptures. Not a bit. I’m looking for a path through the Scriptures to present them to myself for study, my church for hearing, and our lives for living.
Posts in this series:
A few books recommended by readers of the last post:
Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones
And some other books of interest…
Thanks for reading,