During my ministry to my first two churches, I floundered. For ten years I searched for a way to make my sermons meaningful. I used both topical and exegetical preaching, but something was lacking. A very basic question had not been answered: What was my prime responsibility as a preacher?
Then it dawned upon me that I was essentially a communicator of God’s written Word, the Bible. This introduced a complete change in my approach to preaching. I was determined that when I left a church, the members would have a deposit of the Scriptures in their minds and an application of these sacred truths to their living. Somehow I would communicate an extensive and an intensive knowledge of the Bible. And this would have to be done at the 11 o’clock service on Sunday morning, when the most biblical illiterates were present.
So, based upon the American propensity for joining, “The Book of the Week” Club was formed. The membership card indicated that the joiner would attend the midweek service and the morning worship service for a certain span of time.
Next I preyed upon the guilt complex of the average Baptist who prides himself on being a part of “the people of the Book” but has never read it very much, certainly never all the way through.
The herd instinct is basic to our Western culture, so I appealed to the members to join and read the Bible through from Genesis to Revelation—a lifelong ambition of many. “Let’s do it together. Everybody is doing it.”
On the Wednesday night at the beginning of this program, I gave an introductory lecture on Genesis. Each one present received a mimeographed statement giving the key word, key verse, author, date, geography, and an outline summary of the book. The lecture took about forty minutes. On the ...1
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