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“Preachers-only aren’t good preachers”

October 21, 2009

Not only have I realized that we have a lot of Bible college, seminary students, and a handful of other pastors that read the blog and make it what it is (thanks guys!), but we also want to see The Bridge raise up a multitude of church leaders now and in the future to lead Kids’ classes and small groups as well as other churches.  So I read this, learned a lot of from it as a pastor, and wanted to post it here.

If you’ve missed it so far, Tim Keller is now blogging here.  His second post was fantastic and timely for anyone in any type of ministry.  You can read the whole post here, but here’s a summary in 6 sentences…

Many Reformed evangelicals think of sound, expository preaching as something of a ‘magic bullet.’ We may think that as long as we are preaching the Word–preaching the law and the gospel rightly–that everything else in congregational life will somehow take care of itself… Pastors in many of our Reformed churches do not seem to be as energized to learn to be great leaders and shepherds, but rather have more of an eye to being great teachers and preachers… If you put in too much time in your study on your sermon you put in too little time being out with people as a shepherd and a leader. Ironically, this will make you a poorer preacher.  Preachers-only aren’t good preachers.

This has been my personal experience and led to the nearly complete failure of my first ministry position.  If I put in 20+ hrs on a “winning” sermon (common), but fail to spend time with people, dream and plan for the future of The Bridge (easy to do), then I’ll fail.

This follows John Frame’s tri-perspectival view of the church – Jesus’ offices were that of Prophet, Priest, and King.  Prophets preach, priests weep with the hurting, and kings lead the kingdom.  By the power of Christ, church leaders from parking lot greeters to Sunday school teachers/small group leaders to Lead Pastors need to do the same for Jesus’ church.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2009 9:31 am

    I continue to be blindsided by the need for church leaders to announce that they are “Reformed” (am especially shocked that he capitalized the word). Don’t we have enough divisions in the Kingdom of God without dividing ourselves even more? Just a thought from someone who is consistently in conversation with individuals who hesitate to seek God through Jesus because of the divisions within the Christian community.

    Jesus once said when praying to the Father… John 17:20-21
    “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

    Bottom line… Those who are not yet followers of Christ will believe that Jesus is the Son of God when they see and believe that the Christian community is unified, without divisions, without ideologies separating us from one another, when Jesus is the reason we band together and the term we use most when speaking of who we are, not when we band together because of or to fight for our own theological perspective.

    The thesaurus uses the following words when a search is done of the word “reformed.” Rehabilitated, Transformed, Changed, Converted, Renewed, New, Improved. Every Christian has been “reformed.”

    Yes, I know that he spoke of this because most reformed (little r) pastors do expository sermons. So do many non-reformed pastors.

    Please know that I didn’t miss the main point of this post. He is so very right when he speaks of spending time with people. Without community we don’t have the church God envisioned. And without a unified whole we don’t have the church Jesus died to create.

  2. josh permalink
    October 22, 2009 10:32 am

    @The Navigator – Man, I wish everyone thought that way. If everyone thought that way there probably wouldn’t be 1/3 of the world who hadn’t heard the gospel. I understand that sometimes the labels are helpful & necessary, but in the vast majority of conversations they contribute to disunity.

    If you’re for the gospel, we’re on the same team. Period.

    In this post though, Keller is critiquing a specific group of people (Reformed guys). His post wouldn’t be true if he just said “Christians” or “evangelicals” because what he said isn’t true about most evangelicals. It’s specific to the group, who happen to look to him the most.

    Does that make sense?

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