Preaching Relevantly

The popular guys—the ones with the mega-churches and cool TV broadcasts—are not usually the best examples of biblical preaching.  Erik Raymond, aka “Ordinary Pastor,” gives us his recent encounter:

I was recently in for a doctor’s visit and was attempting to turn our time of chit-chat into gospel-chat. As I made my move the Dr was receptive. When I told him I am a pastor he smiled and asked, “Where do you guys get the topics for your sermons?”

Without thinking I gave what I think was a great answer, “The Bible.”

He smiled and said, “I guess I walked into that one.”

But as we talked he gave the data behind his question. He told me that his impression of preaching these days is that the pastor reads the newspaper, watches the news or TV and then comments on it.

I asked the guy what he thought about that. He went on to say that it was pretty lame. He said that he follows the news and culture pretty closely and that the pastoral commentary on it leaves something to be desired. Their sermons, he said, aren’t attractive to me.

Sensing that I did not preach from the Living section of the local paper, he asked me what I did.

I went on to tell him that I am preaching through the Gospel According to Mark verse-by-verse. Genuinely intrigued he asked how that can be relevant. I went on talking about brokenness, guilt, shame, hopelessness, and how various forms of self-salvation don’t work. I talked about sin and redemption. I explained the big picture of the Bible, God’s redemptive plan in Christ, and how it unfolds in Mark. I didn’t overwhelm him, I just connected dots. The guy said he had never heard of anything like this. It was interesting and encouraging.

Imagine that, preaching the Bible. What a novel concept?

As excited as we might be about a resurgence of preaching among young people, the fact is, it is a small wave in a big ocean. There is a lot of work to do.

Just something to think about as we approach Sunday.

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