I sat over espresso with a friend this summer. Being passionate about such things, we talked about churches.
He'd just come from a conversation with a mutual friend, the lead pastor of a rural Midwest congregation. The topic of preaching had come up. He'd asked his friend what the goal of his preaching was. After a moment of thought, the pastor replied: "My goal in preaching is for my church to understand the meaning of the text."
We sipped our drinks and picked at the statement a little. To understand the meaning of the text. A good goal. But is it enough? After all, a congregant can understand the text and remain aloof, untouched by the Spirit, disengaged, unchanged, hard of heart.
A listener could get big-headed if a preacher stopped at "understanding the text" … with the same puffy cerebellum that can lead to porch-chair critiques of another man's ministry philosophy.
And there's the rub, Paul, a voice said inside. There's something wrong about it, but it's in you, too.
Bible students ...1