Preaching Articles

People in church like to sound spiritual by saying, “I want to go deeper.” To me, this is the most overused and often overrated comment people make in church. Why do I say this? Because, more often than not, it means “Bible Study” and it reflects a person’s desire to be thought of as pious or spiritual. Yet, rather than throw this statement out, I want to reclaim and redefine it.

So what does “go deeper” mean to me?  It means three things:

1. Going deeper into my commitment to God’s Church.

I can’t be committed to Jesus (the head) without being committed to the church (His body).  Thus, I must love God’s people with the same fervor and passion that I have for Him.  I can’t say I love and serve Jesus if I don’t also love and serve his Bride.

2. Going deeper into my commitment to the world.

The world is dying and lost without Jesus.  If I am to “go deeper” I must dive deeper into the muck and mire of a broken world in order to reach people.  Pontificating about theological mysteries doesn’t save people from Hell.  Only the Holy Spirit, through passionate, loving evangelism, can do that.

3. Going deeper into my commitment to being mastered by Christ.

I’m a work-in-progress, and the more God works on me, the more progress I realize I need.  Continually working to allow Jesus to be Lord of my money, my attitudes, my eyes, my mind, and my words feels like a never-ending process.  Thus, I must go deeper into submission to Jesus every single day.

Does Bible study play a part in these three commitments?  Yes.  Is Bible study enough by itself?  No.  Deepening knowledge is not enough; it must accompany deepening commitments!

Alan Danielson is the Senior Pastor of New Life Bible Church in Norman, Oklahoma. Previously he served as Central Team Leader for LifeGroups at in Edmond, OK, where he led over a thousand small groups on LifeChurch’s thirteen campuses in six different states. He then founded to help leaders master three essential leadership skills: vision-casting, creating strategy and fostering relationships. Alan is a popular conference speaker and consults regularly with ministries and leaders on topics relating to small groups and leadership. Learn more from Alan at

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Keith B

commented on Sep 29, 2011

As a pastor of a church, your calling is not to save people from poverty. Your calling is to feed the sheep and teach them about God. After you do that, they should want to go out and help the poor and downtrodden because of the effect of the Gospel on their lives.

Ray Mckendry

commented on Sep 29, 2011

As pastor of a church your calling is to preach and live the gospel which may invlove spending some time helping people in poverty or in need of personal help but it is preaching and leading that is the main task of the pastor.

Chaplain Shawn Kennedy

commented on Sep 29, 2011

I hear what Ray and k b are saying but...what did Jesus do? I'd be interested to see how much time the average pastor spends in the office and how much time they spend with the hoi polloi.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Sep 30, 2011

The office of Pastor appears only once in the NT (in reference to humans, the word also appears a couple of times in reference to Jesus--which is significant considering how much time he spent meeting people's physical needs!). There are other terms used in the NT such as "overseer/elder", but while there may be some overlap in responsibilities, I don't know that they are necessarily the same office. The text that describes the office of Pastor is Ephesians 4:11, and the Greek grammar links "pastor" with "teacher", suggesting that together they constitute ONE office, not two separate ones. If this is true, then the main task of the pastor is NOT preaching and leading, although certainly a pastor may do these things. Rather, the main task of the pastor is TEACHING. But teaching them what? Teaching them about God? Teaching them the Bible? Not quite. I does include that, but it includes much more! The task of pastor-teachers (along with apostles, prophets, and evangelists) is to "equip the saints for the work of ministry" (v. 12, ESV). So we don't just lead, we teach the saints how to lead, remembering that NT leadership is shared, NOT hierarchical with the pastor on top. We teach the saints how to read and interpret the Bible for themselves so that they can feed themselves and preach the gospel themselves and not be dependent on a once-a-week sermon from the pastor for their spiritual nourishment. We teach the saints how to minister to people's needs and how to demonstrate the love of God in real, concrete ways such as feeding the poor and visiting the sick. And we teach the way Jesus taught, not by means of classroom instruction alone, but by bringing them into our lives and allowing them to see how we follow Jesus. THIS is the main task of the pastor, and it's a calling that many of us pastors have forgotten, or simply ignored. We're too busy preaching and leading and feeding to do what we're actually supposed to do. We need to ask ourselves these questions: If I (and my entire pastoral staff, if applicable) were to die suddenly tomorrow, would there be someone in the congregation equipped to preach to the believers gathered in worship this weekend, without having to call in a "guest speaker"? Would there be people in the congregation equipped to lead the church? If not, then we're not doing what the Bible commands us to do.

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