Highfalutin’ sounding words to follow…
“Do you preach verse by verse through the Bible? Do you preach topical sermons? Do you preach expository sermons? Do you preach ‘practical messages?’ Do you preach word studies? Do you preach biblical character studies?”
Obviously, these are questions that are only asked by Christians, because most people who are not Christ followers don’t know what any of those expressions mean and don’t really care. I mean, let’s be honest. They would never visit a church for the first time because they first asked those questions. …I just wanted to mention that upfront.
But here’s my answer to all of these kinds of questions: Yes, but not exclusively.
And here’s why. We simply are not going to hang all of our theology, methodology and identity on ONE “Bible Study Method.”
“Bible study method?” you may be asking, “I thought we were talking about preaching…”
Yes, I thought we were, too. That’s why I wouldn’t limit preaching to a “Bible study method.” Call them “Bible Preaching Methods,” if you like. You say tomato. Whatever. I’m talking about communicating “out loud” the truth of Scripture to a gathering of people.
I’m not saying, of course, that God won’t speak through any one of these methods, but that’s kind of the point. Frankly, whenever I hear of a church making a public statement that identifies them as a “one kind of sermon” church, I think that it’s kind of odd.
(Take a deep breath and brace yourself before reading the next sentence.)
If we hold to only one way of preaching, I think we run the danger of having an oversimplified and small view of Scripture itself.
…Easy, now. Let me explain. What I’m trying to say is that by leaning on only one way of communicating Scripture, we are revealing a dependence on a system of study and delivery more than on the power of the proclamation of God’s Word itself.
In other words, it’s like saying that the Bible only works and is only powerful in this one way of proclaiming it – which is a statement that Scripture doesn’t make about itself.
I’m not saying that anything goes. I’m just saying that the commands, “Therefore, go and preach this message verse by verse,” or “Therefore go and preach this message by subject matter in a systematic way” are nowhere to be found in Scripture. It’s just never limited in such a way.
To be clear, we want to be a church of the Bible, but we do not want to be a church of a “Bible study method.” Our view of Scripture is much higher than that.
Sometimes it will be “verse by verse” through a single passage; sometimes it will be a topical message. One weekend may feature a specific doctrine, another may feature lessons learned from the life of an individual in Scripture. Sometimes we will deal exclusively with an issue that just needs to be addressed and what God’s Word has to say about it. Still another may be an entire message from one word in the Bible.
The point is, we will use a variety of Bible study/preaching methods for communicating to people the powerful, life changing truth of the Bible.
Now “how” we deliver these messages is a different subject entirely…
Ongoing General disclaimer: The purpose of this post is merely to clarify the kind of church we desire to be. I’m not trying to slam any church or what God is doing in other places. But if you are a Christian who is interested in our church, it’s just important that you know this stuff upfront. 😀