Are Sermons Destroying Christianity?

26 09 2007

***UPDATE  – While I continue to greatly struggle with the dominant use of weekly sermons as a means of training disciples I don’t like the spirit this post was written in and so I’m removing it from my blog***

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32 responses

26 09 2007
timglass

“Sermons are Ineffective” I found this to be true as well as the focus of worship.
800 lbs. lighter is a great feeling ain’t it?
God bless,
Tim

26 09 2007
churchlayman

Although the preaching of the word of God may be offensive, it is what the Lord commanded his followers to do. See Paul’s instructions in the epistles, the actions of Peter and John and Paul in Acts, etc., etc. To the degree that the Church diminishes the importance of the Scripture in its life and worship, it will be accountable to God for straying from His express instructions. To quote (loosely) J.I. Packer from “Knowing God”, ‘Since the Holy Spirit gave the Word of God to the Churches for the purpose of building them up and teaching them of the truth, how can people in churches that diminish the importance of the Bible expect the Holy Spirit to work within their midst and within their lives?”

Please, keep close to the scriptures in your search to keep close to and walk with God. God has provided us with no other way if you follow what He says in the Bible.

Take care,

Churchlayman

26 09 2007
eden2zion

Hey Churchlayman,

Thanks for your comments.

I just want to make clear – what I’m suggesting is NOT a reduction of the value of the Scriptures. We spend at least 2 hours per week training our people in the Scriptures. My problem is with the method of the weekly sermon precisely because the Scriptures are so important, why are we using this ineffective method (and my issue is NOT that it’s offensive but that it’s ineffective)?

I don’t see any examples in Scripture of Paul, Peter or John using the weekly sermon technique that is the sacred cow of today’s church. In their day they used many other more effective and intense methods – apprenticeships being one example.

26 09 2007
churchlayman

Good food for thought – I appreciate your thoughts here. How can we ensure that the instruction of the Scriptures receives the focus and time that is needed for people to be “fed”. We are instructed to “preach the word — in season and out of season, etc.” (you know the passage). The crucial issue seems to be that we all need instruction from the God’s word. If more effective ways can be developed than what is found in traditionally organized church services – then Amen! We have heard of the modern house church movement and can no doubt look back in church history to find out what small groups of believers have done in different cultures and situations to worship and take God-honoring instruction. Sounds like a good seminary Doctorate dissertation subject to me.

Take care – it is good to talk with you on these subjects.

Churchlayman

26 09 2007
eden2zion

Yes, I agree 100% with your concern. Replacing the weekly sermon without a clear plan on how to improve the training taking place is a big mistake. These new methods need to focus more attention on practice and fulfill our mandate to “teach them to OBEY”.

NOTE – “The Greek word translated Preach in 2 Timothy 4:2 means “to proclaim, to officiate as a herald.” This is not the same as teaching or training but “proclaiming”. This is the act of foolishness described in 1 Cor. 1. We proclaim the good news but when we train disciples it entails a different process.

27 09 2007
Roy

I remember sitting in a Vineyard listening to Todd Hunter preach/teach, and just wanting to ask questions as he taught. Rather than eliminating sermons all together why not bring in Jesus’ way, encouraging disciples to question and take part in the sermon? I guess then it wouldn’t be a sermon anymore.

27 09 2007
eden2zion

Hi Roy,

Yep, been there and thought that (with Todd Hunter). And allowing dialog is just one example of a necessary improvement but I feel there are completely new paradigms about teaching that have nothing to do with the weekly sermon that will vastly improve the effectiveness of our discipleship training.

27 09 2007
CovenantBride

EXCELLENT!!! i was jus speakin about this to the Lord, how sermons are soooooooooo ineffective and sooooooooooooooooooo far from the preachin of the apostles by the Holy Spirit…and that ring around the preacha really shows how far into idolatry the church is…the church of man can neva be compared to or consistent wit th church tha Jesus Christ is buildin…be bless… -g-

29 09 2007
Em

Jeremy – (this is Gavin)

Sometimes I think you bait me. You sit around and write these pieces, knowing that I’ll check it at 1:45 in the a.m. Then, I either toss and turn OR I force myself to sit down and respond. Truth be told, it does not take much for me to sit down and respond.

So, despite so much validity in many of your arguments, I think we need some clarity. Know that I do love the evocative Kierkegaardian method you are employing and I love the root point. I appreciate the stir that this thought will create. I think the approach is helpful, just not perfectly clear.

First, let us clarify the DISCOURSE of which we speak. With respect to the NT, sermonizing does occur. So, your “unbiblical” comment, though it has some merit, is not entirely accurate. “Kerygma” (Gr. preaching) does usually connote a herald or a messenger. I’ve never heard of a Socratic herald. But Kerygma is usually associated with an apostle or evangelist in a public environment heralding (in many situations a SERMON-like DISCOURSE) the Good News of Jesus. You cite the lack of effectiveness of the sermon, but look at Billy Graham. Should he have peripatetically walked about teaching, rather than sermonizing? I think that you would be hard-pressed to say that his methodology was ineffective. And if you argue that many may have converted, but not become disciples, then I think you over look the role of the evangelist. The evangelist is not responsible for the entire discipleship process. He performs a function, he has a role, that begins the discipleship process.

What I believe that you are uncovering is a radical categorical mistake where Kerygma (preaching – which is oftern a sermon) and Didache (teaching – which is often process-driven) have been confused. I also think there may be some universalization that every person is responsible for the entire discipleship process. I think that rather, the Body of Christ has different roles (evangelism, healing, serving, teaching, etc.) that support the entire discipleship process. I also think it is important that teaching not be equivocated with discipleship, rather teaching is a critical element to the discipleship process.

So, I think your foundational question is: Why do protestant churches embrace this categorical mistake by using a sermon to teach? OR Why does the church think that a sermon is the most effective tool to make disciples?

I think there are a few potential roots to the problem. Two that come to mind are 1) the pre-printing press Catholic heritage and 2) the Revivals. In more Catholic environs, the sermon existed because there were no Bibles and literacy rates were low. Short lectures or sermons were logical expressions in a mass or corporate environment. These short expressions briefly expounded on the read Scripture from the Christian calendar. The point of these homilies was to bring color to the reading of the Scriptures in the Mass. Much like the point of the Scripture reading in the Synagogue functioned. But look how the emphasis in the Mass was (and is) rarely the sermon. So, though the public reading and homily were necessary (and I think still welcomed), maybe they are not as necessary today. When I attend Mass, I enjoy the brief homily around the Scripture reading. The problem that you have is when that sermonic discourse is the sole source of discipleship training. So, the sermon is not the problem; the problem is when that is used as the sole tool for discipleship.

The second potential root is the protestant revivals. I think this is a more plausible problem for this discussion. Guys like Whitefield, Wesley, Edward and Finney were, in many respects, heralds of the Gospel. But this is their historical situations, the churches WERE the public forums. These events are maybe where the greatest blur takes place. During these times in Europe and America, the churches were the equivalent of the Greek Symposium or the Jewish Synagogue. These men PREACHED (in the form of a sermon) the GOSPEL. Sometimes sermonizing is necessary, whether in public or private forums. Sinful people cannot dialogue about something they do not know. (In other words, I refuse to accept a Platonic idea of recollection when it comes to the Gospel. The Gospel is counter-intuitive to our nature and cannot be “recollected” by sinful man. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal and according to Scripture it can come through, yes, the foolishness of preaching, even in the form of a sermon.) But then as the Church returned to Christ, the discourse of sermonizing, which was laregly associated with preaching, became the discourse of discipleship. THIS IS THE PROBLEM YOU ARE AFTER – to repeat, the DISCOURSE of the SERMON became the primary DISCOURSE of DISCIPLESHIP. The church tried to herald something must be tasted, touched, explored. Simply, we forgot about the following and exchanged it for a request for information through a sermon.

So, for clarity, I think we have to create two separate content categories: 1) the Good News of the Gospel and 2) the process of making of disciples. Then, I think we need to talk about discourse and context. As much as I want to integrate evangelism and continued discipleship, these categories (or really these separate roles) do have different functions. Sermons can be proper discourses for evangelism (see Jesus, Paul, Peter, Stephen, George Whitefiled, Charles Finney, Billy Graham, etc.) Also, preaching can occur in a letter, a lecture, in a blog, a movie, etc. But preaching is not limited to the sermon, but the discourse of sermon is not necessarily evil. The commonality of most preaching or kerygmatic situations, is that (no matter the discourse) the preaching is directed to an unbeliever (I think that is supportable in the NT). Now, to reiterate, I don’t think that the PREACHING the Good News has to be in the DISCOURSE of sermonizing (see Phillip & the Ethiopian OR Jesus and Nicodemus), but Paul is not playing the role of Socrates in Acts 17 – he is sermonizing. Peter is not playing the role of Socrates in Acts 3 – he is sermonizing. Steven is not Socrates in Acts 7 – he is sermonizing. Billy Graham is not Socratic; he gives sermons. These men are heralds of the Gospel. They used the DISCOURSE of sermonizing to preach the Gospel. That role and those gifts are essential for the reconcilation of lost people to the kingdom of God. So, let me be clear. Preaching (irrespective of the DISCOURSE – i.e. does not matter if by letter, lecture, email, or otherwise) is unilateral, not dialogic. Preaching informs. Preaching is offensive. Preaching may condescend, but to condescend (or comedown) is not necessarily a bad thing. But historically and biblically, preaching has been centered around informing lost people of the Gospel through the DISCOURSE of sermons. Usually those lectures have been in public (not really corporate worship environments). In other words, Billy Graham in the stadium or Paul in the symposium is an appropriate environment for the DISCOURSE of the sermon, for the sake of the kerygma, or preaching. In fact, one could argue that that DISCOURSE is extremely effective for the symposium and the stadium.

Now, to some extent, I embrace C.H. Dodd’s distinction between kerygma and didache. However, human discourses and language are never quite that neat. But I do see a discipleship PROCESS evoked in the NT. Discipleship involves a “following.” Following may entail a series of questions, followed by more questions and sometimes answers and other times no answers. But discipleship is a journey, which is what I think you are emphasizing. (WITH WHICH I TOTALLY AGREE). Undeniably, pedantic downloads are not the best discipleship tool and the church has taken the predominant DISCOURSE for preaching (i.e. lecture or sermon) and applied it to discipleship. In my opinion, this is one of the LARGEST CATEGORICAL MISTAKES the Protestant Church has made.

I also think it necessary to note that kerygma and didache are not mutually exclusive and do not fit into nice, neat perfect discourse categories. Rather, kerygma and didache play with each other. They intersect. In Kierkegaardian method, often a common object is given to numerous subjects. The subjects begin to exchange, wrestle and dialogue around that common object. In other words, a sermon can become a common object for more subjective, didactic exchange. You see this in the Gospels. After Jesus will give a sermon (and yes, it is a sermon) the disciples will take him aside and say, “So, Jesus, when you said X, what did you mean?” So, another point of clarification, JP…I think what you are exphazising that it is the lazy approach to discipleship that tries to make disciples by simply sermonizing. This attitude and approach to discipleship says, “Keep saying it and maybe they’ll get it.” Or your rice analogy works. The approach is lazy. You are right to call for a new approach and a new process, but I’m proposing the true root of the problem is the break down in relationships within the church, the lack of true following and (to your point) the lack of intentional discipleship making that involves relational human beings. Modernity thinks we can learn by absorbing information – i.e. just download the info and you now have all you need. Jesus believes that we learn (and are changed) by the following. Following requires a process and requires a relationship. The problem with the current state of the sermon in the church is that it is NOT a part of a process, nor does it involve relationships. I believe that the Discourse of sermons is largely taken out of context and ignores the need for subjective interaction and participation in a discipleship process. So, my conclusion is that you are right about the need for well-defined, relational, discipleship processes – just don’t throw one discourse out because is has been misappropriated (the categorical mistake) and taken out of context. In my opinion, the root problem is the lack of relationality and intentional discipleship processes.

My final point to underscore that ideas is a family example — Emily, Nick and I have been listening to Tim Keller sermons together. We listen to the sermons (a lecture discourse) and respond by asking questions, researching and challenging each other. I think the sermonic discourse is actually helpful. What if someone were continually asking interrupting Keller and asking questions? Many people would get distracted and not be able to take the idea and wrestle with it. Instead, he presents a cogent idea and my family takes that sermonic discourse and turns it into a process. The sermon has relational context for my family. The sermon is a common object to which my family subjectively responds. We learn; we dialogue and yes, we change. His sermons assist our discipleship process. Were the sermonic discourse left on its own, it would fall flat. But because it exists in relational context (for us), the sermon has life. The sermon is actually a discipleship tool involved in a discipleship process. So, the more I think through this issue, the more relationality and process are at the root of your concern and NOT the particular discourse of a sermon. So, I say, boot the anti-sermon language and let’s get to the heart of the matter. Today’s Catholic and Protestant churches are lazy and complacent about discipleship. We should get relational and intentional about discipleship. In turn, we should carefully and thoughtfully use the BEST tools to make disciples. AND keep in mind that should look different in various cultures and sub-cultures. BUT, as you are calling out, let us NOT engage in lazy, irrelational, irresponsible sermonizing and call it discipleship.

Looking forward to learning more about your processes.

Best,

Gavin

29 09 2007
Em

Jeremy –

Also I do think your characterization about the “Sermon on the Mount” is unfair. Jesus coming off the mount and DELIVERING the sermon is the New Testament fulfillment of Moses handing down the Law, but rather providing an easier Law, Jesus ups the ante. Jesus’ Law calls us to the a higher standard of perfection. He calls us to Love, which is impossible for us to fulfill. Our inability to fulfill His Law forces us to come running to Him. The Sermon on the Mount is not about the disciples questions, it is the New Law given by Jesus. And yes, the discourse in unilateral. Now, I’m sure there were questions afterward, which contextualizes the discourse and makes it a useful tool.

30 09 2007
eden2zion

Hey Gavin,

Thanks for chiming in and sorry ’bout the late night. 🙂

I completely agree with the distinction you make in the context of the sermon – when it shifts from proclamation (evangelism) to teaching (discipleship) and its constant use as a primary TEACHING tool is my one and only beef, but it’s a big one. And my reference to the Sermon on Mount is to point out that you cannot site what Christ is doing there in defense of weekly sermonizing. It was nothing like our sermons today and that is why I hate to even see us use that word. It was, as you say, the fulfillment of the Law and was repeated a number of times as the core teaching that he used to train his disciples. Again, nothing like what we do on Sunday mornings.

Your historical treatment of the rise of the sermon moving to the center was also very enlightening.

I’m going to add a quick update to my post so everyone understands we are discussing the weekly sermon as the central tool of discipleship and not the role of preaching in general. I completely agree with its place as a tool for evangelism and believe this is the correct application of I Cor. 1.

30 09 2007
Em

JP –

Of course I knew what you were getting to, but just wanted to clarify. Too, it gave me an opportunity to put together an retort to your piece, which I always enjoy. And I see what you were saying about the Sermon on the Mount, with respect to Sunday Morning sermons and wholeheartedly agree. There is no connection.

To further the dialogue about the historical treatment, when I return to the church where I grew up, there is still an evangelistic sermon and altar call. Yet, all the people attending are “Christians.” Truly, they are stuck in the revivalist era. You give the sermon and issue the altar call. One would think that when no one comes to accept Christ that someone would conclude that they are preaching to the wrong people. However, the constituency is comprised of people who profess the Lordship of Christ, yet they continue to receive an ineffectual sermon every week. As you said, they are starving. I can honestly say that it is one of the most incredible sights to see people stuck in an era that is no longer relevant to them. Yet, they continue to operate in the same fashion and reject any idea of change.

I would also like to hear your thoughts about the multiple facets of discipleship: teaching, training, service, inner life, worship. When we say “Discipleship” what do we intend? What does a disciple do? Do disciples with different gifts function in different roles? When Christians do gather, what do they do? Since we’ve sufficiently beaten the weekly sermon down, what does a corporate gathering look like? Is the point of a corporate gathering? Is that the forum for discipleship? Or is corporate worship act that a disciple participates in? What do discipleship environments look like? How do different Body roles function? Should we make a distinction in how to train disciples and what a disciple needs to do? In other words, corporate worship is important, but not a place of training. So, here is what I would like to dialogue out. What are the key components of being a disciple? How do you train disciples? What roles in the Body of Christ are trainers? What do the venues for training look like? How are they established? How is the content delivered? Then, what does a disciple do? How do you teach a disciple to pray? To worship? To serve? To hear God’s voice? Seems there is a possibility for many venues, many forums, many roles, many modes and finally, many different expression. I’d like to map out the core qualities of a disciple and some proposed methods and venues. I’d also like to explore the key disciplines that every disciple must use to continue his discipleship progression. Just some thoughts.

29 10 2007
tablefriends

Jeremy,

In the church I was last working at the senior pastor was doing a six month series in the book of Ephesians spending each week on one or two verses. He spent 25 hours a week studying and manuscripting his sermon and then delivered it once on Sunday morning as the focal point of the weekly church service, which itself was the focal point of all the ministry and resources of the church. The title of the entire series was “Building Biblical Community in Christ.” I remember asking him in the hallway on the way to a meeting what he hoped the outcome would be for the church when these lecture style sermons have run their course. I asked this in context of the problems we were having as a church; there was a lot of turmoil about music style, and the Pastor of Worship was stepping down because he was getting so much flack. There was also tension because the service I was running on Sunday Nights was becoming more and more disconnected from the morning service. He simply replied, “I want people to see a biblical picture of what Community looks like.” I just kept thinking there must be a more effective and resourceful way to train people in scripture then this.

I think there is a lot of initial opposition to this article because weekly preaching is so completely intertwined into the fabric and culture of what church is for and about that to rethink it would be to begin to unravel its implicit values and mission.

– jc

29 10 2007
tablefriends

P.S. – I think this would be a great article for Next Wave Online Magazine. Perhaps you should submit it.

jc

30 10 2007
Jeremy C

You’ve given me a lot to think about concerning sermons. I appreciate your thoughts.

However, I question if it is the sermon itself that is ineffective or the preacher who is preaching it. If the preacher is not only studying the passage, but also the surrounding culture and the needs of his church then his sermon will be much more effective. How else do you deal with a large group of people? If you open the sermon to dialogue you will spend much of the time hearing opinions unless you have a group of people who have given serious thought and study to the passage (which more than likely would only be a small percentage of the people who show up).

I look at a guy like Mark Driscoll. If his sermons are ineffective his church sure seems to be growing regardless. I think you’ll find many people come to that church because of his sermons. So maybe it’s the preacher not the sermon.

Just my thoughts.
Jeremy

10 11 2007
Michael Foster

Jeremy,

I think this post would be more valuable and accurate if you simply placed the word “some” in front of your bold lettered headings. I have other issues with the post, some which have be partially address by Gavin, but that previously mentioned mere addition would solve the bulk of them.

A brother,
Michael Foster

19 12 2007
Rev22: Whoever Is Thirsty, Let Him Come » Are Sermons Destroying Christianity?

[…] just read an interesting article at From Eden to Zion by the same title. It’s a very thought provoking look at how effective the current form of […]

19 12 2007
eden2zion

Hey Jeremy C (nice name)

Addressing your comment –

“I look at a guy like Mark Driscoll. If his sermons are ineffective his church sure seems to be growing regardless. I think you’ll find many people come to that church because of his sermons. So maybe it’s the preacher not the sermon.”

I spent a lot of time thinking about this before writing my post wondering if whether Driscoll is an exception to the rule or proves the rule.

A few of observations –

1. My favorite Driscoll talks have NOT been his sermons but things he spoke at conferences and workshops. I also heard a 6-hour discussion-based workshop he did about 6 years ago and to this day that was the most powerful thing I’ve EVER listened to from him.

2. It seems that Mars Hill has fallen into a total dependence on their super star speaker and would be in BIG trouble if anything happened to him.

3. Are people at Mars Hill growing deeper in discipleship? Do we see the growing number of attenders as fruit? Is there a way for Mark to use his powerful speaking gift in a different way that will – release MORE trainers and teachers and create additional more effective avenues for discipleship.

Mars Hill is a bit trapped at this point. Once you begin to build your church around a super star and develop a worship service center its almost impossible to not go ALL the way with that model even if it proves rather mediocre at making disciples. See my post about what happened to Willow Creek.

19 12 2007
eden2zion

Mike – one way to be bit clearer is to say “How Sermonizing is Destroying Christianity”. It’s tough to make your nuanced point in the title but hopefully the update and comments have cleared things up.

28 12 2007
Dan B.

Our church occasionally has a “hymn sing” on Sunday morning, when people in the congregation can pick out the songs from the hymnal they want to sing. I’ve wondered if we should do something similarly with sermons. Let people shout out their questions or concerns and then dig into the Scripture to deal with the issues that are raised. Dan Kimball in his articles about pews, I think it was, gave me the idea. it’s kind of crazy that one guy gets to choose a topic that he thinks hundreds of people need to hear. Seems like it would help make our Sunday mornings more interactive and more useful. Another alternative would be to talk to small group leaders about what people are talking about in their groups and then address them on Sunday morning when everyone is together.

15 01 2008
Discipleship Methods - Discipleship Series Part 2 « From Eden to Zion

[…] of discipleship by serendipity (happy accident). The reason for this (as I’ve described here and here) comes from a backward approach to mission and method (designing one’s ministry […]

16 01 2008
eden2zion

Dan B. – Yes, I agree, but I think a change like this should flow from the mission. If the mission is discipleship the method change should be carefully strategized to accomplish deeper life change.

The problem is the mission of most churches is to do church. They may have a stated mission that is different but every church I’ve been involved with who had a mission like “developing fully devoted disciples” should have said instead “developing fully devoted disciples as long as that can be accomplished doing things the way we’ve always done them.”

14 03 2008
Frank

What about when Paul addressed a group of disciples in Troas (one man standing in front of them)? He spoke to them for hours. He spoke long enough to put a guy to sleep!
How about this: instead of simply dismissing the sermon, what if we view it as one tool among the many available to us in the discipleship process?

21 04 2008
Lance

I agree with Frank’s question (comment above this one).

I began to really grow in Christ when I was discipled by an individual and grew in accord with a small group, so I think I hear your point. I also, however, grew even more deeply a few years later, when subscribing to the tape ministry of a well-grounded and disciple-making preacher.

Can we really make the blanket statement that sermons are ineffective tools in the discipleship process?

Paul tells Timothy: “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” (1 Tim. 4:13)

Could this not have included both public preaching and private teaching, especially since it begins with a public setting? Does the Word of God only bear fruit in personal settings and not public worship settings? Maybe it has in your heart, but I doubt that speak for everyone.

It sounds, too, like your only exposure to preaching has been unhealthy, and there’s a lot of bad preaching going around, so I can understand that.
But you seem to convey that the preacher’s words are irrelevant, because he is out of touch with the people.
That may sometimes be the case, but methinks your generalizations disregard those of us who preach on Sunday and spend time with the sheep between Sundays, listening to them, weeping with them, encouraging them and challenging them.

18 05 2008
Glenn

I agree that sermons play a key role in destroying and stunting the lives of most christians today. The sermon is not the only culpret though. We’ve turned the leader role from slave to king/CEO, and completely lost the concept of servant leadership. We’ve ignored the 1 Cor 14 command to participatory worship. We’ve relegated the believer into a pew sitter when he is a royal priest. I’ve cently posted an article that addressed these ideas more “Ditch Dwellers”
http://thebigpictureministry.htohananet.com/blog/_archives/2008/4/25/3660432.html

12 06 2008
Darryl

I apologize for not reading through all of the postings to this blog. So If I inadvertantly make a point already made, please forgive!

As a 18 year former youth ministry veteran and someone who has been a “preaching minister” for 12 years I have to whole-heartedly concurr with you!

I’m afraid preaching has become a form of entertainment rather than a learning process. At one time it might have been effective–but we no longer live during that time (even so, John Wesley created his method groups to develop disciples in a more in-depth fashion–so you could argue the sermon hasn’t been particularly effective even in the past!). The most exciting times I have experienced is when I’ve developed an interactive sermon or a Q&A discussion format where I sit down in a circle and merely answer questions and take input from the crowd. Much more exciting and people actually have to think.

Thanks for throwing this out and generating discussion!

12 06 2008
Darryl

Oh, and Lance, the word describing Paul’s address in Troas is the word where we get our word “dialogue” from. I don’t think you can extropolate a 21st century lecture-sermon from that text.

12 06 2008
Darryl

oops, sorry Lance–Frank made that point.

28 06 2008
John Whitener

I sit here at my computer responding to your blog as a man who’s life was transformed by a Sunday morning sermon. And, whose life has continued changing due in part to the the messages I have heard on Sunday siting in church. For these messages and for those who gave them I am extremely thankful. Really!

1 07 2008
eden2zion

John – I’ve also been transformed by certain sermons and they continue to effect me as I listen to 4-6 per week.

My post is asking the bigger question of how much deeper we would have been transformed and how many more would have been transformed if we focussed that same energy on more effective, biblical and personal methods of discipleship training.

1 07 2008
Mike Edwards

I remember watching the Tigers win the 84 world series on a 3.5″ black and white TV when I was a kid. I remember the excitement and following every play in the game to the very last moment and falling asleep as the news covered the celebration (and probably subsequent destruction).

However, there is a HUGE difference between watching the game on that tv and watching it on a 47″ high def television. Further, an even greater distinction happens when we’re actually at the game.

For me, while I have grown and continue to grow from sermons, as we understand them, we must admit the lack of involvement that this particular form of teaching takes, so that even the best is still like watching it on TV. I have noticed that the greatest moments of transformation (coming from truth exposited in sermons) has really come from processing through that with other believers. Ultimately, the strength of dialogue is the involvement of people and their interaction with the truth. Not because all truth(s) are equally valid, but because the truth is there for all to see.

18 07 2008
Glenn

I think Mike hit the nail on the head! The flock has been out there listening and listening and listening, but we learn by doing. Pls believe me the following the verses on seeking to prophesy (Amplified bible translates prophey “Inspired Preaching and teaching”) will change your life!
—- Take a look at Be Egar to Prophesy for the long version:
http://thebigpictureministry.htohananet.com/blog/_archives/2007/10/30/3323359.html

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