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For many teachers and preachers, there’s a line they won’t cross when delivering their messages. This line creates a barrier that looms higher than any desire to move the audience.

Most preachers and teachers will say that their ultimate goal is to help their people grow spiritually. They are sincere. But I’ve discovered a number of circumstances when some tend to knowingly compromise that ultimate mission.

Preachers desire to make their sermon times the most effective they can be. However, that good intent only goes so far. For example, on a number of occasions I’ve seen pastors personally respond to a message in a short film or other medium. “Wow, that really preaches,” they said. Then I asked if they would ever consider dedicating their entire sermon time to the showing of such a film. “No, no, no,” they said.

“Even if the film would be far more effective at making your point?” I asked.

They told me they would never relinquish their microphone. When I asked why, they gave a number of reasons. Some said, “That’s my job!” They said their parishioners expect them to prepare and dispense a spoken sermon every week—period. The strength of the message is not the point. Others said they love to preach—it’s what they do. They have no tolerance for something else delivering the week’s message—even if that something else would carry twice the power.

You see, some things command a higher priority than effectively reaching and moving the people with the message.

We once conducted a national survey of Christian educators, and asked this question: “If you found a curriculum that you believed was superior, which would result in greater learning and growth, would you be inclined to switch from what you’re using now?” Only 29 percent said yes.

We asked the majority why they wouldn’t consider switching. They cited a number of reasons. Some feared their habit-bound teachers would complain. Others said their senior pastor dictated curriculum choices, based on using certain denominational resources that applied a percentage of curriculum revenue to the pastor’s retirement fund.

Teacher acquiescence and plumped investment portfolios superseded the goal of heightened spiritual growth.

For many years I’ve led workshops on effective teaching. I’ve advocated using teaching techniques that Jesus exemplified, such as participative experiences and give-and-take interaction. Inevitably someone says, “Well, that’s not my style. I’m going to stick with what I’m comfortable with.”

At that point in the workshop I’ll usually say, “It’s not about you. In teaching and preaching, it’s not about you. It’s about the souls whom God placed you among. It’s not about you, or your style, or how you’ve always taught—or been taught, or what makes you most comfortable, or what you feel you’re best at, or what you prefer. It’s not about you.”

We call this approach “learner-based.” This simply means that in your teaching and preaching you do what’s most effective for the learner. The opposite is “teacher-based.”

In a learner-based environment, you keep the ultimate goal as the top priority. If a film would help your people grow more than a sermon, you show the film. If one curriculum inspires more spiritual growth than another, you choose the more effective one. If your people will learn and retain more (they will) when they have the opportunity to interact with one another, you provide for it. If engaging your class or your congregation in a participatory experience would be more impactful, you do it, even if it makes you or your people a bit uncomfortable.

Be true to the mission. Time is too short, and the mission is too critical, to pander to lower priorities.

Thom is the chairman of Group Publishing, and president of the Lifetree Cafe national network.

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Gerald Graham

commented on Oct 18, 2013

As with anything I guess I have to ask what the criteria is for determining "effectiveness". Old testament prophets were told to go out and give God's word but that Israel had a hard heart and wouldn't listen. Was it their technique? On the flip side many preachers do all that is "correct" and have large crowds of people simply because they are preaching what their itching and burning ears want to hear. My son is a preaching class now and the teacher told him never to move forward of the pulpit when he preaches. It's something I do effectively every Sunday!

Rev. Phyllis Pottorff-Albrecht, United Brethren Communi

commented on Oct 18, 2013

Years ago, we belonged to a church which invested heavily in some "innovative, new" curriculum for the Sunday School. The curriculum was considered to be "relevant" and dealt with issues such as helping someone who is shy feel more comfortable, etc. Eventually, we noticed that Sunday School class attendance was dropping off - so we conducted a survey. We asked the parents - and the children in the Sunday School - what they thought about the new curriculum. We were surprised when the answers came back. With slight variations for individuality - the majority of the answers boiled down to - "we come to Sunday School to learn about Jesus." The bold, new and innovative curriculum had pretty much left Jesus out of the equation. Right along with Mary, Joseph, Peter, Paul, Moses, King David, Queen Esther, Ruth and Naomi. The bottom line is that not everything which is heralded as being new and innovative really delivers the spiritual nourishment which the average individual is seeking when they arrive at church. Also - some public media which delivers a powerful message to some in the audience - may not deliver an equally powerful message to others in the audience. Some public media efforts can end up being offensive to some in the audience - and - sometimes - just plain wrong from a Biblical viewpoint. Although it IS possible that some in a congregation MIGHT consider a movie to be helpful - the wise leader would be better served by FIRST conducting a secret ballot of the congregation - to learn whether or not the entire congregation would be interested in seeing whatever film the pastor believes delivered such a powerful message. Then a special time should be set aside for those who are interested to gather to view the film. Just springing a specific movie on the congregation in lieu of the traditional Sunday morning worship service would, in my opinion, be a mistake.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

I think you're missing somewhat the point the author is trying to make. He's not arguing for using "innovative, new" curricula just for the sake of being innovative or new. He is arguing against the practice of not using methods, curricula, film, etc, even if it is effective in communicating a Biblical message, merely because it is innovative and new. The example you mentioned at the beginning of your post is not what the author is talking about, precisely because it is not effective in communicating a Biblical message.

Clay Gentry

commented on Oct 18, 2013

One thing to consider is that this writer is seeking to stimulate a large and diverse audience. I get what he is saying, as teachers we need to get out of comfort zone to do things that will best impact the learner. On the other side of the coin, learners need to get out of their comfort zones and embrace new methods that will help them learn more deeply. What that looks like in your congregation will vary from what that looks like in my congregation or what was expressed in this article.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

I get what you're saying. However, speaking as an educator, it's a little more complicated than that. Yes, learners need to get out of their comfort zones. No real education takes place until that happens. But when it comes to how different students learn, it's not so much a matter of students not wanting to get out of their comfort zones. Different students are simply wired to learn differently. Think of it as trying to force someone who is naturally left-handed to learn to write right-handed. Students must get out of their comfort zones in terms of the content learned and the skills developed. But in terms of the METHOD in which they learn this content and these skills, there is nothing to gain from forcing students to use a different method of learning than what they are naturally wired to do. This is what the author is talking about when he describes a "learner-based" approach. When it comes to preaching, the typical understanding of preaching is a passive, lecture-style format. And the lecture format, quite frankly, is the recognized by many educators as the least effective method of teaching. That's not to say we should get rid of it all together. It has its place and certain advantages. But it does mean that those who preach and teach must be willing to supplement the "lecture-style" sermon with other methods that will help the listeners to deepen the learning experience.

Andrew Shields

commented on Oct 18, 2013

There is something different between preaching and teaching. There is also something special about the pastor being the one to give the message. Would the argument being made here mean that if you knew another person could preach better than you to allow them to preach instead, or to read their sermon instead of your own. I believe in sharing the pulpit but I was called to be the preacher here at my church.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

"Would the argument being made here mean that if you knew another person could preach better than you to allow them to preach instead....I was called to be the preacher here at my church." This doesn't have to be an either-or situation. There is nothing in the NT to suggest that God calls only one person in a local congregation to preach. Rather, there is much evidence to suggest the contrary. If there are others in the congregation that have the gift of preaching, why not share the preaching ministry with them? At the church I attend, we have about three or four other lay members, including myself, beside the pastor who share in the preaching ministry. This is something we've implemented recently, and I can testify that it is incredible how much the quality of preaching has improved when we don't have one person trying to develop a new sermon each week. Because we rotate, each of us has several weeks to develop our sermons. "There is also something special about the pastor being the one to give the message." Not really, not from a NT point of view. What is special about the message is the Word that is preached, not the position or title of the person who preaches it.

Andrew Shields

commented on Oct 18, 2013

I said literally that I agree in sharing the pulpit. But there are not 5 people who can or want to preach in my congregation of 30. And I stand with my comment that I was given the job, by people and God, of being preacher/ pastor here.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

Please do not take my comments as a contradiction of what you wrote. I was merely responding primarily to your question, "Would the argument being made here mean that if you knew another person could preach better than you to allow them to preach instead?" My response is that if there are others in your congregation that are gifted to preach, you don't need to have them preach "instead" of you. You can share the preaching ministry with them. As you have said twice now that you do believe in sharing the pulpit (and I caught that the first time), there is no disagreement between us on that point. I have also have no doubt that God has called you to be a preacher and pastor at your church. But my understanding of Scripture, and it has been confirmed through personal experience, is that God does not desire for only one person to perform the preaching ministry in any local congregation. The problem is sometimes we don't recognize those God has called to preach; and those of us called don't always recognize it either. Our current pastor has been with us for about six years, now. When he got here, our average attendance was about 40, so it was comparable to your situation. We were used to the pastor preaching every week. But from the very start, he began working at training people to share in the preaching ministry. He started with one at a time, and now, six years later, there are about four of us who have been trained. And he is currently training another person, so that hopefully by the next year he will be added to the regular rotation. I know it's hard to think something like this would be possible in a small church. But all you need to do is to start with one. Just think of this as an encouraging word from someone who's been in your situation and has seen it happen with his own eyes.

Andrew Shields

commented on Oct 18, 2013

Thanks for your clarification. Your point is well taken. Pastoral mentorship is a wonderful thing. I hope I did not come off as angry. God bless your church.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

You did not come off as angry at all. And for my part I hope I didn't come off as argumentative. I'm glad we've been able to share with each other. It has been a blessing to me. I will pray for you and for your preaching this weekend. Blessings to you!

Ferdinand C Nnadi

commented on Oct 18, 2013

And that is scriptural. Jesus led and instituted leadership. We do not imply a self-serving one but one that leads as well as it follows or serves. Peter was the leader of the apostles -not that each of the apostles barring Judas Iscariot couldn't have led with some degree of success. But because God being a God of authority and orderliness (not confusion),He had to assign responsibility. Even Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to entrust leadership to faithful men and not to new Christians (novices) because. It hardly matters whether you pastoring a sub 100-member church or a mega of tens of thousands of members. The church of Christ has always operated on leadership foundations.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

I'm not quite sure who you are responding to in your comments regarding leadership. I don't think anyone is denying the role of leadership in the church. As for Peter, I don't see anything in the Scriptures to suggest that Peter was "the leader of the apostles." Sure, he had a special role as an apostle. But an apostle itself is a leadership role. The Bible makes no mention of a "Senior Apostle" or of an "Associate Apostle," just like it makes no mention of a "Senior Pastor" or an "Associate Pastor." In the NT, we see a plurality of leaders, with no form of hierarchy among them, and with Christ alone as the "Head" and the "Chief Shepherd (Pastor)." I do agree with you, though, that leadership should be entrusted to those who have been proven to be faithful in their Christian experience, and not to new Christians. I appreciate your thoughts. Except for the point about Peter, I agree whole-heartedly.

Douglas Hallman

commented on Oct 18, 2013

I think there are more issues than just the pastor/teacher. Established churches are often resistant to change. Many boards would not allow the pastor to vacate the pulpit for a film because it looks like he's not doing his job. New curriculum risks losing teachers that are hard to find. Personally I agree with the individual who noted the fluff content in so much of the new stuff being written for churches. Publishers try to hit a wide audience and those who maintain conservative theological positions are often asked to compromise sound doctrine for "new ways". I use powerpoint at times and people say they appreciate it, but it adds several hours to preparation that I often don't have. Most pastors do not have access to power point producers. It is very difficult to find commercially prepared presentations that help me say what I am led by God's Spirit to say. Preaching is far different than teaching a school class that uses canned curriculum and it attempts to accomplish greater things than presentations for business provide for. Perhaps those who plant new ministries (and have the $$ to buy the hardware) will have an easier time than those who are in established ministries.

Douglas Hallman

commented on Oct 18, 2013

We use "Group" curriculum for VBS because we like the basic open classroom style format. But I have to say that we would not use it if we did not have teachers/leaders who know how to present the Gospel and actually teach Bible because what "Group" builds into the lesson has very little Gospel or Bible Truth in it. It's curriculum that can be used by almost any denomination or church, and it is so broad that it contains next to no Bible at all. We will not use it in our Sunday School or other ministries for sure.

Joseph William Rhoads

commented on Oct 18, 2013

Don't forget. Getting you to change preaching/teaching styles is important for the author's bottom line.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

In what way?

Mark Drinnenberg

commented on Oct 18, 2013

Thom Schultz is a publishing house CEO who has been taking it upon himself for years to try to shape the Church into his vision for it. The Bible teaches that God has given spiritual gifts by which we do the work of the ministry to build up the Body of Christ. One of those gifts is teaching. Ephesians 4 says that pastors and teachers have been given to the Church to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ. This is God's design, regardless of what the Group Publishing CEO thinks. To boil it all down to figuring out the most effective way to reach people is to have a flesh-based, horizontal approach that depends upon research and surveys and human wisdom. When we do it God's way, the result may not be as slick or catchy or cutting-edge or professional-quality as a film or other form of media, but God's way will have a person gifted by God to teach God's word doing just that, in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, who is the One who brings true effectiveness to God's work done God's way. Paul told a young pastor named Timothy to "Preach the word." I'll go with that.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

I think you may be reading a lot more into the article and the author's intentions than was actually there! Yes, God has given Pastors-Teachers to the church for building up the body of Christ. This is God's design, and nothing in the article argues otherwise. What is being discussed here is not the merits of preaching and teaching itself. What is being discussed is the METHODS. Not, "Are we going to teach?" but "HOW are we going to teach?" And if we do not adapt our teaching methods to the natural learning styles of those we teach, then we are actually NOT teaching, and in fact we are being disobedient to God's design.

Mark Drinnenberg

commented on Oct 18, 2013

My comments are based not only on this article, but also on other things I have read from the author and from what our Sunday school department has told me about the lack of depth in the Group curriculum I had ordered for them. Our job as pastors is not just to get a point across to our congregations each week. By standing and delivering the Word week-after-week, we are sending an important message to them that is caught more than it is taught: namely, that the Bible is our authority - every word of it. A steady diet of the Scriptures (both from the pulpit and in personal study) will help people to start thinking biblically, and that is more important than whether or not I (or a film) have moved them emotionally on a given Sunday or made a particular point stick in their minds. I'm not opposed to employing visual aids (in fact, I'll be using some this Sunday). I may even show a film once in a great while in place of a sermon. But there is no substitute for declaring the whole counsel of God. Doing such would never be deemed disobedient by God.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

"I'm not opposed to employing visual aids (in fact, I'll be using some this Sunday). I may even show a film once in a great while in place of a sermon. But there is no substitute for declaring the whole counsel of God." And no one is saying there is. Again, pay attention to what he IS saying, rather than what you assume he is saying. He IS talking about declaring the whole counsel of God. But what he is saying is that we must be willing to adapt our methods in order THAT we may declare the whole counsel of God effectively. You mentioned the verse where Paul tells Timothy to "Preach the Word." But the Scriptures are strikingly silent as to specific methods for preaching, and the example that we have of preaching in the Bible bear very little resemblance to the sermons one will hear at a typical, evangelical worship service. I think that is significant. I think God doesn't want us to get hung up on a specific "method" of preaching. I think he simply wants us to PREACH, and he knows that preaching will not always look the same! "Doing such would never be deemed disobedient by God." I would encourage you to reread my comment. I did not say that declaring the whole counsel of God is disobedience to God. I said that if we do not adapt our methods to the natural learning styles of our listeners, so that they don't actually learn, then we aren't really teaching. And not teaching IS disobedience.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

Mark, another thought, if a certain curriculum is not effective in your church for whatever reason, in this case lack of depth, there is nothing in the article to suggest that a church should continue to use it just because it's new, or just because his company sells it. Use what's effective. It's obvious that you are willing to do so to the extent that you can ("I may even show a film once in a great while in place of a sermon"). So I really don't think there is as big of a disagreement between your position and this article as you may think there is!

Corrine Graham

commented on Oct 18, 2013

Corrine Graham Don't forget that the message is from the Lord our God, Man can't change that. Just because man thinks the message is good, Don't mean its good. sometimes God changes his message what happen in that case. Only spiritual people understand spiritual things and that comes from being born again. John 3:8 so I say only God will embrace new methods. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and He is the only one who knows the preaching style that really works

Lawrence Rae

commented on Oct 18, 2013

I'm really surprised at the accusation that the author is only trying to get you to switch to his curriculum. Of course he is if he thinks it is a better resource -- he is a teacher also. But the point of the article is that we need to employ the best methods for our people to learn the Scriptures and apply them to their lives. Sometimes a defensive posture about our task that will not open to anything other than our monologue on Sunday morning can represent an insecurity that if our folk heard someone or something else, they might leave us. If that is true, perhaps they should be helped to find that better place of learning now. As the author has said, the gifting we have received is not about us. In this day of advanced media and communication understanding we should make every effort to convey our sermons in the best way possible. The best way is not always us doing the talking.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

What you wrote reminded me of John the Baptist, when people pointed out how many of his disciples were leaving him for Jesus. His response was, "He must increase, I must decrease." I also find it interesting how the majority of the comments are illustrating exactly what the author is talking about!

Richard Hoxworth

commented on Oct 18, 2013

We want our people to change from their old life to embrace the life of Christ. To do that we must speak a language they understand. Jesus drew people who wanted to hear His teachings because He taught as "one having authority" which stood in contrast to what they heard from the rabbis of the day. As communicators of God's Word, we must be willing to learn and adapt to the most effective ways of influencing those who hear us. The process of doing this is not easy because it moves us out of our comfort zones. The message is sacred, but the methods of presenting it have changed. We must change, too. The Word was once chiseled on stone, then written on scrolls and then books. Now it is found in digital format. Let's be wiling to learn to speak the language the digital generations hear. When I preach overseas I use an interpreter, someone who speaks their language. I don't demand they learn my language to hear what I have to say.

commented on Oct 18, 2013

I agree 'somewhat' with utilizing new methodology to supplement the preaching of the Word, and I have seen how detrimental it can be when people are reluctant to change for the sake of tradition. However different methods can never replace preaching nor "come close" to replacing it. The parable of the sower and the seed would be fitting to look at. In that parable, there was 1 sower and 1 type of seed but 4 different types of soil. The burden wasn't on the sower to fit the seed into the different types of soil or to find which type of seed would work best for the different soil types; instead he was to cast the seed out over and over again. The Holy Spirit is the only needed "ingredient" for "effectiveness" (and I'm not implying the writer doesn't believe that). But it seems today, instead of 1 sower and 4 different soils, today's experts seem to believe it is reversed. We view our role too often as a salesman with a product and a consumer to sell it to. That is NOT who we are nor what we're called to do. Just my thoughts.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

A few thoughts on this subject. To give context as to where I'm coming from, I speak not as a pastor, but as a high-school teacher who shares in the preaching ministry of our local church. 1) There is nothing in Scripture that suggests that God calls only one person in a congregation to preach. 2) There is nothing in Scripture that suggest that there has to be a sermon each week. In one of the examples given by the author, he asked pastors whether they would be willing to dedicate their sermon time to the showing of a film or some other media that would effectively communicate a Biblical message. The idea is that this would be for a specific occasion, not a permanent replacement of the sermon. There's nothing in the Bible to suggest that that would not be a valid option. 3) The key here is EFFECTIVE. It's not about being new or innovative for its own sake. It's not about whether it is slick or cutting-edge or "fluffy" or anything like that. The question is, "Is this EFFECTIVE at communicating a Biblical message?" If it isn't, then no one is saying you should do it anyway just 'cause it's "cool." But if it IS effective, the real question is, "Why WOULDN'T pastors want to use methods that will enhance the learning experience of their congregation?"

Chet Gladkowski

commented on Oct 18, 2013

Part and parcel of coming to Christ is growing in Christ. He does not give us any options to stay where we are, we are to grow in Him. Change and accelerating maturity are to be woven into our thinking, lifestyle and walk with Him. This makes me want to be a better follower and disciple of Jesus, taking out what does not produce fruit and allowing Him to prune so that more fruit might be produced for His honor and glory. To be satisfied with my current state is sin and arrogance. If there is anything that I can change to produce more fruit, let more people hear, understand and respond to the unchanging truth of God, then obedience to Jesus compels me to be willing to leave the comfortable and move with Him. There was once a day where God's people never sat in worship, the pew is the fruit of the 13th century. There was once a day when God's people did not sing in worship, use instruments or hymnals. The truth remains unchanged, but the methods must change or we should be reading from the original languages.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

It has always amused me that those who decry the use of "innovation" or "technology" in preaching never seem to have any problem with the use of microphones, electric lights, air-conditioning, indoor plumbing, etc.! Or to go further, as you mentioned, pews and buildings, and even printed Bibles in bound books, instead of scrolls. Or how about the innovation of the Reformers of preaching and Bible translations in the language of the people, instead of in Latin. EVERYTHING we use in the context of preaching and worship was at some time "innovative" and "new".

Brother Richard Roth

commented on Oct 18, 2013

The use of various media forms can be a valuable preaching tool when used sparingly and strategically. My concern with too much modern day media use is evident in young pastors and recent grads from bible colleges. Many know the truth and stories and parables they have learned, but cannot reference actual scripture because they don't actually read enough and, consequently, fall back on alternate preaching materials (such as video) instead of preaching. Where will the next generation of preachers be when they cannot stand at the pulpit and quote scripture without reading it off the video screen.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

Your point is well taken, and I think all of us would agree, including the author. The use of a variety of methods in preaching and teaching should not be a substitute for the first-hand, direct study of the Scriptures for ourselves. Such a temptation is real, and it is worth pointing it out.

Ferdinand C Nnadi

commented on Oct 18, 2013

My favourite admonition in the Bible was given by Apostle Paul. He charged Christians to exercise moderation in all things. Innovation and mordernity are good and certainly have their merits but we are talking about spiritual matters here. It is only God that knows what is effective. After all what appears effective and relevant today might appear spurious and preposterous tomorrow. I,therefore, can understand why people are ambivalent towards the referenced other media. A preacher is nothing without integrity. I believe that sticking with time-honoured methods is the best. A preacher is obliged to preach and preach s/he should. People seem to forget that over-simplification has its shortcomings. The best way to learn is by engagement. There is no place the Bible said that because we are now born again all questions/complexities would disappear. We are ask to work out our salvation. We have a role in the whole business. This is what I have seen from reading the Bible.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 18, 2013

You make some excellent points. That's why no one is arguing for innovation for its own sake. We need wisdom from God in order to know how to use different methods appropriately. "The best way to learn is by engagement." Exactly correct! We don't have to eliminate completely the passive, lecture-style sermon that is common in most churches. But we do have to look to methods that will allow listeners not just to hear the Biblical text, but to engage with it.

Darrin Mariott

commented on Oct 18, 2013

I'm curious, what evidence does Thom Schultz offer to suggest that many, perhaps even most, preachers are unwilling to adopt different methods to teach their congregations. I see only two references that are flimsy at best. First, Schultz refers to anecdotal stories of his experiences in his workshops--hardly a scientific sampling. Second, Schultz does refer to a national survey (apparently conducted by Group Publishing) of Christian educators about their curriculum. This is not the same thing as pastors and their sermon teaching methods--Schultz is comparing apples to oranges. What I see here is less of an encouragement for preachers to fight the good fight and do everything they can to effectively teach their congregations and more of a back-handed swipe at traditional methods of preaching and those who engage in it.

Anthony Seel

commented on Oct 18, 2013

Read the article, your answer is in it.

Darrin Mariott

commented on Oct 18, 2013

I did read the article--more than once. Schultz offers no evidence other than anecdotal and an irrelevant survey to suggest that many preachers won't adopt different methods to teach their congregations. If you see something that I don't, then please point it out. Otherwise, I stand by my comments.

Charles Ingwe

commented on Oct 19, 2013

This has been one of the most debated articles which shows that it is an important article to consider. However, I always feel unconfortable when I hear the words " it is not about the preacher but the congregation ". If this is meant to say that it is not about the preacher to be noticed then fine but if not well put, the preacher may think he or she is not part of the beneficiaries of the message that is being presented. The message must first be relevant in preparation and the mode of presentation to the praying preacher before it is considered so for the congregation. Secondly, it must as well be noted that the preacher may see what builds him or her but it does not always mean that whatever touches the preacher will touch the congregation as well, the holy spirit must affirm what is needed as effective by the church. What is cardinal is to allow self to die and let the glory go to God. God must not be limited, the fact that he tells us to preach does not mean that he has only one avenue of doing it. Overall, this article does not present much trouble in accepting that it does not take away any form of preaching but is emphasising effectiveness in delivery as being cardinal.

William Milam

commented on Oct 19, 2013

I was talking with Pastor buddy who attended a Church service this past week. The Pastor didn't use a biblical text. He used the book NOT A FAN. Now...I don't have a problem with NOT A FAN. I have a problem when a preacher doesn't preach the BIBLE. NO new style...no new technique...can EVER replace the BIBLE. I reject Thom's argument...PERIOD!!!

Elmer Mushumanski

commented on Oct 19, 2013

This article was most encouraging to me because I have struggled with the same reasons others gave to not relinquish the microphone. At the same time this article would have been more clear if in the 2nd paragraph Thom would have said that the preachers ultimate goal is TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE BIBLE to help their people grow spiritually. And in the 3rd paragraph he could have said preachers desire to make their sermon times to be the most effective they can be TO TEACH BIBLICAL TRUTHS TO GUIDE PEOPLE IN GROWING SPIRITUALLY AND IN FAITH AND OBEDIENCE. Of course I also assumed that whatever film clip, short film or other medium chosen would be useful to teach or emphasize biblical truths. And finally our teaching and preaching is not about us and it is not only about only about the congregation , but is about bringing God's and all Christian truths to everyone in ways that are understandable and will reach every heart. Therefore I dare not rely on what I like or don't like or what I am comfortable with because I have a wide range of personalities listening to me and they all need to be reached and impacted by God's word. After all St Paul pointed out that related himself to all groups of people in order to win some. Blessings Elmer Mushumanski

Brother Chuck

commented on Oct 19, 2013

I agree with Brother William. Too many Pastors, preachers, teachers and other leaders have been convinced that preaching some popular author's book or showing some movie must be done to make preaching relevant to today's hearers. There is nothing more relevant to any generation than the truth of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If not, then Jesus is not the same yesterday, today and forever and we have substituted worldly wisdom for that wisdom which is from above. James 3:1 Brethren, not many of you should presume to be teachers because you know we will be judged more strictly.

Brother Chuck

commented on Oct 19, 2013

Many resources are available to aid in Bible teaching. But that is what we must be about -- teaching people the Bible. We must be very careful in using secondary resources because some are excellent, some are okay, but some are very bad and misleading. Godly discernment is critical. Methods must not take presidence over the message. We all live very busy lives in today's world and it is tempting to use various curricula instead of applied Bible study, including the especially insidious "no preparation necessary" type. If you are not willing to invest sufficient time in preparation, evidently you do not value your students or other hearers as you should. You have no business presuming to be a Teacher or Pastor, since it is apparent you are not aware of the value of the souls you are influencing and for the outcomes of the influence for which you are responsible.

James Dennis

commented on Oct 20, 2013

I'm very surprised at the tone several of the responders have taken to Thom's article. Are we so convinced that only the professional orator is equipped to share the Word? If so, then don't ever read Thom's book "Why Nobody Wants to go to Church Anymore". Those concerned about Thom's "anecdotal statistics" will be forced to deal with Barna's surveys and statistics! Folks, the truth is that in the last 30 years the cultures method of learning has definitely changed and it's the teacher that has to adapt their teaching style if they want to effectively share the message we have been entrusted with. Just my two cents worth, but after 30 years of ministry id like to think I'm still a learner at heart.

Minister Sanders

commented on Oct 21, 2013

There is nothing wrong with the one and only true method for teaching God's Word....Using The Holy Bible! There is not a more effective way! God Bless All of you that are on the panel and I exhort you to keep standing on the wall for Christ!!!!!

John Mcphail

commented on Oct 24, 2013

I just want to pick you brain brother. Very good point you make, but I would like to dig abit deeper. Are we talking about preaching the TRUTHS of God's Word or are we getting stuck on the literal presence of a Bible?

John Mcphail

commented on Oct 24, 2013

Good article. Thank you. In my experience with pastors and I have talked with many of them as a hospital chaplain, I am convinced that pastors are wanting to be more effective in their messages. Very few seem to be against changing things up. What I hear them saying is that the congragation has a preconcieved idea about worship and even about church in general. Our culture and society has "boxed" our notions about religion and so goes the pastor's attempts to preach the word. Our pastor's are so timid with being creative becuase they are not encouraged to change status quo even for the sake of effectivness. One comment had a great question, "what determines effectivness?" ... If our attempts at preaching have not developed action within the congregation the cause could possibly be the ineffectiveness of our preaching. Our method does matter in the church in the same way it matters in our public school rooms. The message does not change just like 2 2=4 does not change, but the way we connect to a changing society requires our methods to change. This is a natural process of society and culture and the church body needs to realize it and embrace it for the sake of the gospel message in our current 21st century.

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