Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mist in the Pulpit Creates Fog in the Pews

I am not currently a vocational pastor.  I served as a Youth and Executive Pastor for four years after graduating seminary in 2006.  Since then I have volunteered at almost every church I've attended, and I have often been asked to fill the pulpit and guest preach at different churches and ministry events.  I am grateful to God that he gives me the opportunity to use my gifts in this way.

In my working and my serving I have seen many different styles of church.  I have preached to everyone from students to senior citizens.  The sermons I've given have been both exegetical and topical (you can watch some of them here if you have a few hours to kill).  I've been to mega-churches and mini-churches, and I've blogged and spoken about what I believe are the strengths and weaknesses they each possess.

What I know is this ---->  there is no perfect style or type of church.

One thing that has been growing inside my soul is a desire to see the Word of God proclaimed with clarity, courage and conviction by pastors.  I'm not saying there isn't a time or season to preach topically, but I am moving towards a deeper conviction that the pulpit is the place to proclaim the Word of God, not the place to provide tips for better living.

That shared, here's a quote I read today that struck me:
Many pastors and teachers simply don't want to push back in a countercultural sort of way, being content to remain silent about God's teaching about [the various] flashpoints in the larger culture war. Meanwhile, however, their congregations are floundering in misunderstanding and false teaching about human sexuality [and many other things].  Many Christians have little training in what it means to be created in the image of God as male and female. 
It's rightly been said that where there's a mist in the pulpit, there's a fog in the pew. In the absence of clear, biblical teaching on gender and sexuality, people tend to get folded in to the Bible-ignoring zeitgeist. Unfortunately, that's where too many evangelical Christians have drifted.   
- Denny Burk, blog post Gender Confused
Wow, that phrase about mist in the pulpit leaving fog in pews is powerful to me!  It reminds me of the weightiness of what it means to proclaim the Word of God.  James 3:1 says that those who teach will be held to a higher standard.  There is a heavy responsibility before God for the souls of men who sit under the teaching of His authoritative Word.  I don't ever want to underestimate or overlook this.
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