3 Myths about Preaching Today
Why a new kind of preaching is needed for our post-Christian culture.

As I have traveled these past few years, I've heard the repetitive refrain from despondent pastors: "I always thought that if I preached a good sermon the church would grow." I heard it again last week so I thought I'd comment on it along with two other beliefs about preaching. Here are 3 dying myths (IMO) of Christendom about Preaching.

MYTH 1: If You Preach a Good Sermon the Church Will Grow

Many a despondent preacher has discovered that this notion is no longer true. It has become a dying myth in post-Christendom. Nevertheless, it gets reinforced by mega churches who leverage (by video screens, etc.) one or two gifted teachers to build crowds coming to consume a good sermon. These examples are largely drawing on the leftovers of Christendom—people still looking for "good teaching" that is portable and user friendly to somehow improve their Christian lives. I take no offense in ministering to those of us who are still part of Christendom, we need to be fed and nurtured too! I just want all pastors who aim their ministries in this direction to realize the pie is getting smaller and the competition hotter. Anyone still holding onto the premise—if I just preach a good sermon, they will come—and ministering in a post-Christendom context, must either compete or be grossly disappointed with the continued dwindling of his/her congregation.

Having said all this, the "great halls" (stadiums) of preaching distribution will not connect to the lost souls of post-Christendom. Post-Christian people are not attracted to the sermon as the first place to go in their spiritual distress. We must help leaders understand that if you spend 35-40 hours a week in your office preparing a good sermon on Sunday, making it not only theologically competent (which is worthy) but slick, you are ministering to the dying vestiges of Christendom.

MYTH 2: Who You Preach To is Who You Will Reach

I have heard it said repeatedly "who you preach to is who will come." This has worked within Christendom for centuries. Today, in post-Christendom, it has become another dying myth that IMO should be dispelled. It says that if you preach to unbelievers in your service your members will start inviting their unbelieving friends to hear what you're saying. But if you don't preach to unbelievers you'll have a worship service full of believers. But again this feeds on the impulses of Christendom—that the way to bring non-believers into the Kingdom is through inviting them to hear a good sermon. This does not make sense to those who can think of nothing more irrelevant and disenchanting than going to listen to someone "preach at me" (often their perception).

September 16, 2009

Displaying 1–10 of 27 comments

Ginseng Coréen

December 17, 2009  10:24pm

As mega amounts of "wood, hay and stubble" go up in flames, humble pastors who served the King of the Kingdom will come forth as gold. And only the King will know who they are. The minute that isn't enough, we don't get it.

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r4 software

November 04, 2009  11:26pm

I read your blog but i did not understand your 3 Myths about Preaching Today.I really want's to understand this Mythes can you help me? I want's to know more about this topic is must MYTH 2: Who You Preach To is Who You Will Reach.

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September 28, 2009  10:33am

In a post-Christendom and post-modern culture, why preach sermons at all?? Can we think of no other way to proclaim the good news? Why is the central activity of the Christian gathering listening to one person talk?

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Pastor Patrick Bwayo

September 25, 2009  1:32pm

SARAH AND AGAR ARE BY REVELATION NOT PEOPLE BUT JERUSALEMS: (Short Form for press) Gal 4: 21-28. (a) Earthly Jerusalem is allegorically Agar & her sons in bondage of serving earthly carnal rulers and testifiers of the Bible who do not see (understand) heavenly rule sealed in the Bible. (b) Heavenly Jerusalem is allegorically Sarah & her son(s) in liberty or freedom who have been set free by God given wisdom and knowledge that ENABLE them to READ the Bible in God's Wisdom and knowledge that sets them free from the enslaving carnal rule of the devil and his sons testifying the Bible in human knowledge and wisdom. Gal.4:26-28. www.mychurch.org/patrickbwayo/blog

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andy padolina

September 24, 2009  4:38am

When we preached the truth, convictions will take place & that's the work of the Holy Spirit.Believers & non- believers will be as one in the congregation. For a hired pastors, truth can be a half-truth or a quarter-truth. Thanks for the insight. God bless.

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September 23, 2009  2:51pm

Great observations Pastor Fitch. If you preach it they will come does not work anymore. The sermon on Sunday should be directed towards those who already have a relationship with the Lord, discipling them, so they can then go into the world and be Christ to the lost.

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September 23, 2009  1:17pm

"We do not save anyone! That is the job of the Holy Spirit, of the Lord...not man." David, you're right. "To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might SAVE some." 1 Cor 9:22 "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will SAVE both yourself and your hearers." 1 Tim 4:16 "Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will SAVE him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." James 5:20 "I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and SAVE some of them." Rom 11:13-14 Although not stated, all of the above verses imply Eph 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been SAVED, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God..." In mathematical terms, it is called a GIVEN.

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September 22, 2009  1:58pm

Many sermons are little more than a sales pitch. Worship services are reduced to store-front windows designed to entice shoppers to buy the other products the congregation offers. When the King returns "many will say on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn't we do good stuff that worked, got results, and validated our lives?'" And the King will say to them, "who are you?" Not until "that day" will we know rightly how to think about our work, preaching, mission. As mega amounts of "wood, hay and stubble" go up in flames, humble pastors who served the King of the Kingdom will come forth as gold. And only the King will know who they are. The minute that isn't enough, we don't get it.

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September 22, 2009  1:01pm

If we don't show people the Bible is relevant to their lives, then the gospel message will be lost on them. People need to see that the Bible is not a history book but the living, breathing word of God. It not only holds God's promises, but it also shows us mistakes our ancestors made that we can learn from. First and foremost we plant seeds so the Holy Spirit can draw them into a saving relationship. We do not save anyone! That is the job of the Holy Spirit, of the Lord ... not man. We are seed planters, guides, shepherds. We need not water down a message to appease men, either.

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Thom Hunter

September 21, 2009  11:36am

What we need to hear from the pulpit is an assurance that in a world where we are flung head-first into constant change whether we want it or not, there is something that does not change and will not change: the Word of God. Pastors who demonstrate the unchanging truths of grace and forgiveness and repentance will have listeners. We need something to hold on to and those who study God's Word thoroughly can relate it properly to the world . . . His world. It will help those of us who are struggling to change our lives to be reminded that God does not change His to suit our culture. Thom Hunter http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/

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