James MacDonald recently posted “Five Things We Do Instead of Preach.” I won’t reiterate the points he made, all of which are valid.
I once had a pastor tell me that he was too busy to prepare sermons, which was why he bought and borrowed series from well-known ministries rather than write his own. Sure, he spent a little time customizing the messages for his congregation but the most important thing was that he was sharing Jesus with people, right?
There’s nothing wrong with using canned messages, but call them what they are. That’s not preaching, and it’s not teaching. It is recycling. You heard something that you thought was good and you’re sharing it with your congregation. As my daughter tells me, “Reduce, reuse, recycle.”
Here’s the thing for me. I was trained to preach, not recycle. I went to Bible college and seminary to learn how to proclaim the Scriptures boldly and plainly. My father was one of the best speakers I have ever heard share the Scriptures, and I learned a lot from his old school ways. Call it what you will, but I like to preach.
There is something deep inside of me that rejoices in unpacking a text, mulling over meanings and nuances, and then bringing that text to light on a Sunday morning. There’s no glitz or fancy videos. I don’t even use Powerpoint for bullet points (largely because I usually only have one point anyway).
A message during our worship gatherings is me and my Bible, the congregation and their Bible, and the Holy Spirit speaking through his word.
Styles vary, and maybe you like Powerpoint and moving backgrounds. Maybe you communicate with your videos and dramas. That’s great. God be praised. But that’s not preaching. That’s media. Those things don’t take the place of God’s man before God’s people, opening up the Scriptures and giving understanding (Nehemiah 8:8).
The Church of 2012 doesn’t need more self-help or missional strategies. It needs the Word of God, preached by God’s man through the Scriptures. (In case you missed that nuance, the Word of God is Jesus Christ.)