Preaching for the Long Haul. Challenges to Preaching Effectively over the Long-Haul. “Without altars, we talk less and less about eternity and more and more about the here and now.” Calvin Miller Marketplace Preaching. The New Consumerism. Christianity as a Subculture.
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“Without altars, we talk less and less about eternity and more and more about the here and now.”
Marketplace PreachingThe New Consumerism
Church has become an addendum to American culture. Disassociation with the market-place centers preaching on “insiders.” “Separation from the world” is double-edged.
“A sermon that loses its godly summons is at best a current event and at worst a morality monologue.”
Market Place Preaching
Christian Subculture where the transcendence of God transforms and “abundantly pardons and saves to the uttermost.”
Influence of seculars—reality of a continuing hunger for the transcendent
Loss of Divine Drama
The message and the messenger are inextricably linked
Henri J. M.Nouwen
“The strategy of the principalities and powers is to disconnect us, to cut us off from the memory of God. It is not hard to see how many of our busy actions and restless concerns seem to be disconnected, reminding us of nothing more than the disorder of our own orientation and commitment.
When we no longer walk in the presence of the Lord, we cannot be living reminders of his divine presence in our lives. We then quickly become strangers in an alien land who have forgotten where we come from and where we are going.
Then we are no longer the way to the experience of God, but rather in the way of the experience of God. Then, instead of walking in God’s presence we start walking in a vicious circle, and pulling others into it.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen
The Living Reminder
USA Today rather
Daily Bible Reading
ListeningAll starting points must be connecting to the authoritative reference point
I hear a lot of people like you. I don’t mean to be impertinent, but give me one good reason why I should listen:
Are you about to say something that I would find useful? Are you willing to promise me that if I do listen, I will hear something of consequence?
Exactly what kind of promise would I like you to make? Promise me that after I have listened, I will upgrade my bogus values, jettison my impure motives, and commit myself to somethingglorious and dangerous and heady and wonderful.
Promise me that all the time I sit listening and you stand talking that I will see things I was unwilling to face before you preached. Help me see my sin, or God’s glory, or Jesus’ power.
Promise me that I, who am riddled with inferiority, will at last believe in myself.
I have always been afraid of heights. Challenge me with Everest. Promise me that after your words, I will be able to scale those icy walls and with God’s help plant his mighty flag on the summit of all my doubts.
Promise me that I at last will know who I am and what I was born to achieve.
Promise all this and you shall have first my ear. . .and then my soul.
We can no longer assume our preaching takes place within a more or less “Christian” culture. The great narratives of Judeo-Christian belief, the pivotal stories of the Bible’s characters, the events of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ either are not known or do not carry the meaning-making significance they did for previous generations Biblical knowledge, Christian doctrine and theological reflection must be presented and re-presented from America’s pulpit-yes even American Christians.
Charles Finney exemplified a reaction to the “old school”. Left brained religion wasn’t enough for Finney. Finney’s preaching for response exemplified:
Moody, Sunday and Graham perfect Finney’s “new school” efforts.
(Mt. 11:28; Luke 13:1-3; Acts 2:40; II Cor. 5:20)
Listeners usually “round off” a sermon to a general idea
People tend to interpret messages on the basis of past experiences
Most listeners find it difficult to separate essential from non-essential in a message
A speaker’s delivery and person can be more influential than the content of the message.
What about notes?
Leadership, Spring 1995
Preaching for response is biblically rooted – can be hindered by lack of preparation – but never be thwarted because it relies on the Spirit’s empowerment.
The Holy Spirit and the Preacher
Preaching for response is a Pentecostal preacher’s responsibility because Pentecostal preaching bears witness to the resurrecting power of God which breaks into every aspect of God’s created order.
The Holy Spirit and the Preacher