Pounding the Pulpit 30 Years

Last Sunday was a special day for Katrina and me as we thanked God for the honor of serving The Donelson Fellowship for 30 years.  I had the opportunity of speaking briefly about my philosophy of pulpit ministry.

Nehemiah 8:8 is my working definition of preaching.  It says Ezra read from the book of the Law distinctly, gave the sense, and caused the people to understand the reading.

As a ministerial student years ago, I was trained to preach expositional sermons.  I was told there’s no power within me or within my personality to change lives.  The power is in the living and active Word of God. 

I was told it’s not what I say about the Word of God that changes lives; it’s the Word of God itself.  It’s not my personal opinions; it’s His revealed truth.

I was told to devote my mornings to the study of Scripture. 

I was told I shouldn’t go into the Bible to find sermons but to meet the Sermon-Giver.  And I was told that as He fed my mind with His Word, my sermons would be overflow.

It’s tempting to preach a lot of how-to, positive–thinking, shallow, sentimental, entertaining, trendy, story-heavy, need-based sermons.  And certainly our messages should be relevant, practical, well-illustrated, need-sensitive, and engaging.

But we don’t preach to entertain an audience; we preach to edify a church.  And only the consistent exposition of Scripture, rightly divided, given in its naturally unfolding context, will do that.