Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boring Preachers

Have you ever heard one of those “Ain’t it awful” preachers?
You know, they just complain about our society and make judgments about people in general. Their preaching is long on diagnosis and short on remedy. This kind of preaching makes Christians feel superior to “those out there,” but rarely changes anything. Instead of lighting a candle, it just curses the darkness.

Have you ever heard a boring preacher? They like to show off their knowledge by using Greek words and academic terms in their preaching. They speak in an “unknown tongue” each week and people leave the services having learned nothing. Dry as chips.

When Jesus taught He spoke in terms that normal people could understand. He didn’t use technical or theological jargon. He taught profound truths in simple ways. Yet, many pastors do the exact opposite; they teach simple truths in ways hard to understand. They take straightforward texts and make them complicated. They think they are being “deep” when actually they are turning the water muddy. It is more important to be clear than clever when teaching God's Word. It’s more important to influence people than it is to impress them.

Dull, boring preaching is inexcusable. Truth poorly delivered is ignored. It is astonishing to me that some Bible teachers can take the most exciting, relevant book in human history and bore people to tears with it. When God’s Word is taught in boring ways that regular people can’t understand, they don’t just think the pastor is boring, they believe God is boring.

It’s easy to complicate the gospel, and of course, Satan would love for us to do just that. The apostle Paul himself was concerned that people would be led astray from the simplicity of Christ to another gospel and another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Perhaps some preachers should shelve their out-dated commentaries and quit offering their congregations “book reports.” It’s not deep. It’s error.

Some pastors and Bible teachers actually believe they have failed if people enjoy the message. I’ve heard preachers proudly say, “I’m not here to entertain,” and “church is not supposed to be fun.” Obviously, they are succeeding.

In contrast, crowds loved to listen to Jesus teach. Mark 12:37 says, “the common people heard Him gladly” (or with enjoyment). Jesus was the greatest communicator who ever lived and the Bible plainly tells us that people were SPELLBOUND by His teachings. Perhaps these preachers might get the point.

Insecure preachers will accuse others of diluting the message, or watering-down the gospel if such a preacher has a larger congregation. What buffoonery. That’s like saying Jesus was shallow because more people listened to Him than to the Pharisees.

It is a myth that larger crowds are attracted by a compromised message. In truth, larger crowds are attracted to places where the message can be understood and its relevance is applied. Sermons that teach people how to live and how to be doers of the Word will never lack an audience.

PS – Nothing is deeper than a changed life.