Continuing now from the last post, in an effort to gain perspective on preaching. This conclusion is lighter in nature than the prior material.
Communication 101. Just a quick, logistical bit here. When one person talks to an assembled group for an extended period of time, it is incumbent on that speaker to ensure that he is actually communicating and not merely going through the motions of sermonizing just to say sermonizing has been done. Sometimes, in their attempts to communicate, preachers will come out from behind a large piece of furniture and descend from the platform. This gesture is well intended and may be just what the PA prescribed, in some buildings. But if you step down off a raised platform to a lower level, take care that you are not inhibiting visual communication. Don’t make it more difficult for the gathered saints to see your face while you talk.
Sermons vs. other duties. Paid preachers often have huge lists of responsibilities (that go unnoticed until not handled). If we need to hire staff people to mow grass, buy supplies, answer phones, and such, OK. In many cases, it may be a wiser use of church funds to pay a man to take care of those things than to teach publicly. More certainly, it is not the best use of corporate time to spend 30 minutes listening to one man. Pay him for what is needed in each autonomous congregation (remembering that denominational guidelines and structures are suprabiblical and should be servants, where they are permitted by human will to exist, and not masters), but do not insist tacitly that he must preach in order to earn his keep—especially if his sermons are not effective.
On the other hand, it might also be noted that sermons can contribute more than instruction to the gathered believers. There is such a thing as preaching that inspires, convicts, and ushers hearts into a greater God-consciousness. When a sermon does one of these things, it can in fact be vitally connected with worship, as well as with teaching.
Public preachers/teachers, if you have not already done so, you might add to your spiritual arsenal some sermons that point more to God’s perfect holiness than to the “three points and a poem” of your perfect outline. Why not resolve to direct hearts and minds more to the Almighty than to your individual ideas and individual or sectarian interpretations?
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As we are able, let us zoom out on preaching. Let us not be so focused-in on the tradition that we forget that preaching is just that–a tradition. Let us see clearly, in broader perspective, what the Christian assembly can be. That potential is not nearly as dependent on sermons as we might think.