How Can A Young Pastor Preach The Gospel Every Week?
In this interview with Bryan Chapell, that’s pretty much the question asked.
It is an interesting video. It also dawned on me while watching that many young pastor’s need to keep something in mind: Don’t focus on all “the problems of..” questions. Just don’t. In seminary, that’s what many hear and are trained to recognize. The problem of evil, the problem of this and that. Just stop that. I know, your professor’s drilled it into you. Many times, they are experts at giving you problems to solve and exceedingly weak in giving you solutions.
It’s not your fault.
The biblical approach to preaching the Gospel in every sermon is to focus on the solution, not ‘the problem of..’ whatever. The solution, of course, is the atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Presenting the problems of man in light of judicial guilt is, of course, important, never neglect that. However, if you remain generally “problem-centered” in your preaching, you may find yourself squeamish when it comes to being dogmatic when needed, and dogma, my friend, is a good thing. If you can’t be dogmatic about anything, your people will suffer because you were weak and undecided about basic truth. May it never be!
What can a pastor do to preach the Gospel? from Journey-Creative on Vimeo
I’m not really sure I understand the question. Is it, “How do I move away from preaching to the felt needs of my congregation, week after week offering self-help, self-improvement seminars?”, or is it, “How do I preach an evangelistic sermon week after week, avoiding doctrinal messages?”, or is it, “How do I preach more expository sermons, focusing on the text in the context and avoiding topical messages?” I honestly can’t tell from the two minute clip what they are addressing. My experience is that there is very little one learns in order to pass a seminary homiletics course that prepares you to stand behind a pulpit several times a week. Pardon the cliche, but preaching is like riding a bicycle. It is only learned by doing it – and taking a few hard falls along the way. I know that plenty of young preachers are imprinted with the notion that every message must be a pleading with sinners to believe and repent. A pulpit ministry conducted on those terms will be severely truncated – perhaps some reason for the scandalously short tenures of pastors these days. Truly, the fields are white unto harvest, but look around you as the last cutting of fodder is being mowed now in the last days of summer. The harvest is not complete when the sickle is put to the wheat and the proud sinner lies prostrate at the foot of the cross. It must be seasoned in the sonlight, gathered into sheaves, and put up in the barn before it is ruined by the cold rains of autumn. If it is just mowed and left laying, it is wasted, rotted, destroyed. Are we not commanded to preach the whole counsel of God? Not just to preach the Gospel, but to preach the Word? To convict, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and teaching?
No one has asked and still fewer may be interested, but I will offer my advice to young pastors, or any pastor who feels his preaching minsitry is in a rut, or that the lessons he learned in preacher school have carried him as far as they can. The speaker in the video talks about the lenses we wear when we aproach the Word. He is talking about a hermenutic. The only legitimate hermenutic is soteriologicaly centered – as opposed to eschatologically centered – as it stands upon the foundation of Scripture. What this means in practical terms is that your systematic theology is the horse that pulls the wagon of your preaching ministry. So start by preaching some topical, doctrinal messages. Preach about the doctrine of Scripture. Preach about the doctrine of God. Preach about the doctrine of fallen man. Preach about the doctrine of Christ. It will involve a lot of topical messages, but so what? Your people will learn a lot and so will you. Your lenses, your hermeneutic will be solidified by this exercise.
While you are working your way through this first step, interact with your people on a one to one personal level to ascertain how they are receiving the doctrine you preach. This is crucial, because it will guide you through the next step. Preach expository sermons, deala with the text in the context. Preach through chapter. Preach through books. Preach throug passages that illuminate and illustrate the doctrines your folks are having trouble assimilating. This teaches them how to use the truth of God’s Word to form their own lenses, their own hermeneutics.
Once these principles are in place in your peoples minds and practice, if you feel led to preach a self-improvement message from the Scripture to address some challenge confronting the congregation, it’s no big deal. All along the way, you will have ample opportunity to talk about Christ, sin and salvation. All along the way, you will be equipping God’s children to be His witnesses and bring forth fruit.
Admitedly, this takes time. You will have to spend many years going over these things again and again. This type of a preacing ministry is not conducive to an upwardly mobile career path in the denomination, moving to ever larger congregations. It is, howerver, conducive to building up the saints in the most holy faith.