The coming of a new year always inspires a lot of articles and blog posts about cultural trends and how the church needs to respond to them. You’ve probably seen them floating around on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve read a few of them. They all say pretty much the same thing. Among other things, we need to invest in technology and quit judging people if we want to reach the lost. Oh yes, and target young people because they have a greater sense of mission and, you guessed it, they better understand cultural trends.
Let me be quick to say that I agree with much of what I read in these articles. It’s what I don’t read in them that bothers me. Simply put, I read almost nothing about the power and importance of the preached gospel.
Paul said, “Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)
Honestly, I don’t know how you can write a 10 or 12-point blog post about building an effective church without mentioning the importance of preaching. Some of the articles I read go on and on about the importance of having an app for your church and instituting online payment methods for giving, but say nary a word about the importance of having a strong, doctrinally sound voice in the pulpit.
Sometimes I wonder if we aren’t too clever for our own good.
Here’s what I think:
The most important thing a church can have going for it is strong, biblical preaching. It can do with or without an app, a Facebook page, a glitzy web site, streaming sermons, online giving, a fancy building, free wi-fi, or a clearly defined brand. But it cannot fulfill God’s purpose without power in the pulpit.
Occasionally, I speak to young preachers. I always say, “Never, ever, ever let your preaching become a secondary priority. If something has to slide, don’t ever let it be your sermon.”
I think I would feel better about all the hotshot church experts and bloggers if they showed a little more respect for preaching.