When I saw the headline “The Hottest Thing at Church Today,” I wondered what kind of new promotion or gimmick some mega church had devised enticing people to attend.
Then I read the post by blogger Tim Challies.
“According to a new study by Gallup, the hottest thing at church today is not the worship and not the pastor. It’s not the smoke and lights and it’s not the hip and relevant youth programs. It’s not even the organic, fair trade coffee at the cafe. The hottest thing at church today is the preaching.”
As a preacher that got my attention. But then this really surprised me.
“Not only is it the preaching, but a very specific form of it—preaching based on the Bible.”
According to Christianity Today magazine, “Despite a new wave of contemporary church buzzwords like relational, relevant, and intentional, people who show up on Sundays are looking for the same thing that has long anchored most services: preaching centered on the Bible.”
The problem, as Challies correctly states it, has been a pragmatic approach by many preachers, pastors, and churches. “Pragmatism insists that the end justifies the means.” This philosophy has been applied by too many for too long. And it is not confined to one particular denomination. In my fellowship among churches of Christ, we have witnessed brethren abandoning the authority of the Scriptures and resorting to carnal and secular means and methods.
The Apostle Paul told Timothy that the church is supposed to “the pillar and ground of the Truth” (1 Tim 3:15). Furthermore, he solemnly charged this young evangelist to “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim 4:2-3).
Motivational speaker and former Mars Hills preacher, Rob Bell, was wrong when he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show and suggested the Bible is irrelevant in today’s culture. The truth is that the Bible has never been more relevant than it is in the 21st century.
I’ve heard it said that we need to make the Bible relevant today. No. It’s already relevant. What preachers and churches need to do is preach it. And apply its eternal principles to the problems and challenges in people’s lives.
What the Apostle affirmed in the first century, is still true today. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2Tim 3:16-17)
While times have changed and technology has drastically affected our culture, the basic nature of humankind has not changed. We face the same problems. Fears. Frustrations. Needs. Wants. And our #1 problem is still sin. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
The Bible reveals that Jesus is the Answer. He’s the way to the Father. The Savior of the World. And the atonement for our sins (Jn. 14:6; Lk 2:11; I Jn 2:1-2). Through Him, we can enjoy peace with God, discover our purpose for living and find fulfillment in life (Eph. 1:7-12; 2:14; Jn. 10:10).
Once I was preaching in a congregation where a sister invited her niece to attend. The young lady said that she wasn’t interested. She was tired of attending churches that preached politics, social issues and offered entertainment. She was interested in the Bible. When the Aunt assured her that we were strictly Bible focused, she reluctantly visited. And was surprised. A few weeks later she was baptized for the remission of sins (Ax 2:38).
It’s refreshing to know there may be a trend back to people wanting Bible preaching. However, whether it’s trending or not, Bible centered preaching and teaching is what people need, whether they know it or not.
“Preach the Word.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman