what are you preaching?

I’ve written before about the annual Christian Standard contributing editors’ meeting, my favorite meeting of the year. The caliber of the people in the room and our years-long work together make this one of the few gatherings where “favorite meeting” isn’t an oxymoron. Each year I leave encouraged and challenged by these folks, with new ideas to ponder and more books to read.

On Friday, during our discussion of needs among church leaders, Ben said one consistent question any time ministers get together is “What are …


new to you friday—hot topics

My original post sparked a great discussion so I planned to revisit it at some point. I chose this week, however, because of an article the Barna Group posted on Monday with the six megathemes emerging from their research in 2010. These include “The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate” and “Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.”

Should these realities affect the way we plan services and sermons? Do we give churchgoers what they want or what they need—and what is that, anyway?



preach it! (how?)

Lots of comments on the last post, with an overwhelming majority agreeing they would prefer more sermons working through entire books of the Bible instead of focusing on topics.

Concern for the integrity of the text was a major factor.

“Expository preaching…feeds everyone much like they must have been fed when these letters were read to the New Testament churches,“ wrote Victor. “It also forces preachers to preach the ‘whole counsel of God.’”

“How do we know if a topical treatment is accurate unless we know it’s backed up by a thorough survey of the Bible?” wrote Al.

And Randy writes, “Topical …


hot topics

I prefer to study an entire book of the Bible instead of topics.

However, judging from most church web sites, I’m in the minority. Most churches do series after series—sometimes on practical issues (finances, marriage), sometimes more theological ones (the names of God, Jesus’ parables).

I agree it can be important to study topics occasionally, especially if they address real issues going on in the life of the church or the larger culture. (A study of the biblical qualifications and expectations for elders enriched my own church’s elder-selection process last summer.)

But I wish …