Thursday, February 24, 2011

Preaching as Worship

Pastors do not preach in a vacuum; we preach in the context of a worship service the focus of which is on, or at least is supposed to be on, God.

It follows, then, that our sermons should contribute to that experience of worship by helping to focus the worshippers’ attention on God.

How can we preachers attempt to make that contribution?

Negatively

1. We can avoid calling undue attention to ourselves. While we should do our best to engage our listeners, the purpose of that engagement is to call their attention to God.

2. We can avoid the reduction of preaching to moralizing. Preaching should alert people to or remind people of the grace of God and take away from and not add to a legalistic mindset.

3. We can avoid the reduction of preaching to “how to” lists. People need guidance on living but they need even more to know that God is with them in their daily lives.

4. We can avoid theorizing about God. Preaching is proclamation, not speculation.

Positively

1. We can remind the Church of the reality of God. Believe it or not, even Christian people forget.

2. We can call attention to the actions of God in history. That is, after all, the content of the Bibles on which we base our preaching. We should never fail to mention the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

3. We can testify to our own experiences with God. While preachers need to avoid calling attention to themselves, we can appropriately talk about how we have experienced the God that we are trying to help our listeners experience.

4. We can create space for encounters with God. Neither the worship service nor the sermon should be filled with non-stop activity and words; space can be created for people to experience God.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very helpful post. There is certainly a lot to consider when preparing a sermon intended to be a guide to and of God's Word and not just a speech with our biased thoughts.

    Brad

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