Thursday, August 22, 2013

Preach like it matters

As we draw near to the first day of school, I find myself thinking back over my own school year. I had some great teachers through the years. Most of them cared about the material they were teaching and most of them cared about me. In fact, there seemed to be a direct correlation between those who cared for the material and those who cared for me. The handful of teachers who seemed to not give a rip about what they were teaching also seemed not to care about whether or not I improved as a person one bit.

There's a lesson there. One of the primary ways we convey that our people matter is by making sure that we are conveying that our sermon material matters. If it appears that we don't think our sermon matters (either through lack of preparation or enthusiasm), not only will we communicate that the gospel story doesn't matter, we'll inadvertently convey that our listener's don't matter either!

John Claypool tells a story about a friend who was assigned to an airborne division during WWII. This terrified his friend because he'd never even been in an airplane much less jumped out of one! He said it was funny, no one had to tell him to pay attention to his instructor. He hung on every word the man said. Plus, the instructor was a seasoned paratrooper himself, so he spoke of these literal issues of life and death with an urgency that only comes from one who trusts his material matters greatly.

Claypool summarizes, "Here was a human being sharing with other human beings what he knew about a subject of vital concern. I would suggest that this provides a getter description of what the preaching event ought to be than for some casual academic dilettante to pass out information that, even if correct, is of little existential moment. We are called to be and do far more than merely to pass out information" (John Claypool, The Preaching Event, 61).

Every week we stand up and share with other human beings what we know concerning a subject of vital concern. Let's do far more than just pass out information!

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, it can be true. Some preachers convey that the message doesn't matter through their lack of preparation or enthusiasm. I am in constant hope that pastors around the world will take their preaching responsibilities more earnestly. On some Sundays, we have one shot to share the gospel to someone who walks through our church doors. Let's not squander that opportunity.