5 Things We Do Today Instead of Preaching the Word

Excerpted from his talk given at the Acts 29 Lead Pastors’ Retreat in June 2011:

I wish I could tell you that most pastors are preaching the Word. I can’t—some are not preaching the Word. So here are five things we may choose to do instead of preaching the Word.

1. Entertaining

“Music, drama and video, felt needs, topics, more stories”

None of those things are wrong—unless they displace the preaching of the Word of God. Some teachers will tell you that you need to tell stories in your sermons or you will bore people. I’m not bored. If you’re not bored, no one is going to be bored. Can you take hold of the Word of God and take hold of a group of people and make them listen because you have something to say?

Are you bored? The greatest sin in ministry is to bore people with the Bible. Martin Lloyd Jones said, “Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire. A man who can speak about these things dispassionately has no right whatsoever to be in a pulpit and should never be allowed to enter one.”

You have to get the Word of God, let it grip your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, and drive over to church with something to say.

Now if a story fits in, I might tell you a story before I sit down, but don’t make that your thing. If people come up to you afterwards and say, “I love that story you told,” it should make you crazy. Really, that’s what I am? I’m a storyteller? The Gospel is the main story that you should be telling.

2. Sharing

We hear a pastor say, “There are some things I just want to share with you today…”

Since when is the man of God some Dr. Phil and Oprah combo? You’re supposed to proclaim a message. If you’re not preaching, glory is not coming down. You have to preach the glory down—people have to hear a word from God.

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James MacDonald
James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God's Word on the Walk in the Word radio broadcast, and is a gifted author and speaker.