when I made the decision to leave my home church, I knew that the number one thing I’d struggle to find comparable to where I’d grown up was good preaching.
Since I’ve visited churches, I’ve had a similar thought everywhere I go, because I keep hearing the same thing everywhere I go.
Here’s what I hear: we want the church to grow, people to grow, and the mission to go out!
Here’s what I think: then why don’t you preach Jesus?
I don’t mean to be a preaching snob, but I find it curious that churches want people to come to church and start attending regularly. And yet the “sermons” you hear aren’t conducive to that!
Let’s say that I’ve never been to church before, and I’ve never heard the gospel. I walk into church, hear people singing, say hi to some people, and then I sit down for a “sermon” in which the preacher tells me
-you need to be patient and/or
-you need to love your neighbor and/or
-you need to die to your flesh and/or
-this is what a godly marriage looks like and/or
-this is how God wants you to manage your money and/or
-you need to feed the hungry and/or
-this is why Christianity is true and/or
It’s a major pet peeve of mine (maybe I am a preaching snob) but I just don’t understand the point of making Sunday mornings your discipleship time, and not actually preaching the gospel.
Most churches nowadays have connect groups/life groups/cell groups (whatever you choose to call it) and that, I opine, is where you should learn all of the who, what, where, why, when, and how of Christian discipleship (like a bunch of the stuff I listed above.) Yes, it’s true – Christians do need to bear the fruit of the spirit; we do need to die to our flesh; love our neighbor; feed the hungry, clothe the naked; it is important to have a defence for Christianity, but that’s not what Sunday morning is for. If you’re so adamant about growing your church, then Sunday morning should be the time when you, if you’ve never heard the gospel before, can hear the gospel. You can’t assume that everyone knows it. If I don’t know the gospel, it’s not going to make sense why I should help people (from a Christian standpoint anyway.) I don’t know all of the vernacular like flesh, dying to yourself, etc. I don’t understand that love Jesus shows us motivates us to do the stuff, because I don’t even understand that Jesus loves me!
And while you’re at it, leave people time to respond to the gospel, and give some practical action items. Give a space to kneel and pray. Give practical response instead of leaving it up to them.
Just a few thoughts…