PREACHING THE BOOK GOD WROTE
HOW I CAME TO UNDERSTAND PREACHING THE BOOK GOD WROTE
I don’t know if I get in more trouble saying, "My friend Jerry Falwell," or saying, "I read everything John MacArthur writes and listen to his sermons. "How can I say both names in the same breath you say?" It’s like saying I liked both Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and Jeff Gordon in NASCAR. With that said, I have learned a lot from both men and their ministries. It’s a good thing I don’t say I like Billy Graham. (I like Billy Graham.) I learned from my dad, early in life, you don’t talk about Jerry Falwell, or Billy Graham, or J. Frank Norris and other men of God.) Dad would stop you in your tracks. Whether or not dad approved of them or not he just would not engage in negative talk about them.
I must say that the first church I pastored was influenced by the Super Conferences at Thomas Road Baptist Church and Jerry Falwell. I really do not regret that part of our ministry, and there are still some good things that came out of that ministry.
I think the idea of the Super Conferences were about church ministry and how to get people to come to the church. They taught how to have a good bus ministry, a good children’s ministry, an adult ministry, and all that is involved in reaching people for Christ.
As a result, most of my preaching was involved in trying to get people in the church to buy into the idea of having a church that is reaching people for Christ. Sermons were designed to get members stirred up to go out into the community and get people to come to church. My sermons were designed to get members to be Sunday School teachers, drive a church bus, be a youth worker. I was trying to get the members to reach more people every week to get a good attendance on Sunday. "Let’s build our Sunday School" was the idea, and the best way of doing this was by preaching. Preaching was about getting people to do what I thought they should be doing. *
I remember one sermon was about "Bus Ministry in the Bible." I used a passage in the New Testament to illustrate that Jesus wanted us to have a bus to get people to church. "And they brought them to Jesus." Sounded good, and we did have a church member to start a bus ministry
I believed the Bible teaches evangelism. I believe Christians are to be involved in reaching people, and I believe the church body should grow. Thus, I was preaching with that purpose in mind.
I believed that Christians should live in holiness. Christians should reflect Christ-likeness. And I was good preaching the Law. (Maybe Charles’s law!) I was good, I thought, in telling Christians how to live like Christ. I believed I was Biblical. I believed what I was saying was Biblical in principle.
Many fundamental preachers believe they have the responsibility to get their members to serve the local church, have the largest attendance, have the most people saved and baptized, and build the biggest buildings in town. The way they do that is to motivate the members unto good works. The means and methods of churchology differentiates from church to church to accomplish their hope for results.
"We would like to see our attendance climb this year 100 people. We would like to see 50 people come to Christ this year. We would like to see a new building that would seat 500 people. We would like to see five new bus routes. And we would like to see 100 teens in our youth ministry."
Personally, I do not see having a vision as being wrong. I do not see setting some goals for the church as being wrong. Having a desire to see the church grow in attendance, seeing people saved and baptized, seeing Christians grow in grace and Christ-likeness is good. What I see as error in thinking is saying,"Let’s just see what God is going to do this year," and then sit back and do nothing and just wait for God to do something. That is missing the point, I believe.
Drafted by Charles and an argument from Charity May 28, 2007