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Is the Problem Really a Lack of “Deep Teaching”?

When I speak at a large event, inevitably someone in a local church will pull me aside and tell me the teaching in their church is not “deep enough.” If you have been involved in church ministry, you have surely heard the phrase.

For a pastor who longs to faithfully feed people the Word of God, there are few statements that sting as deeply. For many, that statement feels like an accusation of unfaithfulness and, therefore, should not be made lightly.

When I hear the comment, I typically ask the person what they means by “not deep enough” and what would qualify as “deep teaching.”

And after engaging in numerous such conversations, I have observed four possibilities surrounding the person making the statement, the church, and the teaching.

1. The teaching truly is anemic.

In some cases, the teaching in a church is a constant barrage of practical self-help sessions that leaves the soul unnourished and unchanged. The people are starving, longing for someone to stand in front of them and unpack the timeless truth of God’s Word.

They aren’t being spoiled or selfish or insensitive to the new people coming to the church. They are simply thirsty for the grace of Jesus and the power of His Word.

2. The person wants a new law.

In some cases, the teaching in the church is solid. The pastor teaches the Bible and continually applies the gospel to the hearts of the people.

But the person wants “something new, something I have not heard before.”

The person wrongly believes that they need something more than the gospel. The person may actually long for a new law, for a checklist that allows them to end each day believing they’re justified before God based on their “great day.”

A new law can seem deep at first, but in the end it will frustrate and leave the person unchanged.