I had said yesterday that I was pretty jazzed up about the workshop on developing and utilizing a preaching plan. I also said that I have been using a preaching plan for a couple of decades.
I first developed a preaching plan while at Surprise Valley Baptist Church in Cedarville, CA. Then I continued to utilize a preaching plan while I spent six years at Mirror Lake Baptist Church in Federal Way, WA. I have for quite some time seen the value of a preaching plan.
- First, because I am wired this way - I love details and organization.
I also mentioned the fact that since the seventies, with the rising star of John MacArthur among a few preachers, expository preaching became the "rage." Expository preaching has unfortunately been elevated at times to an idol and a thing that has been worshipped. At varying times and in varying places a church was not considered "Christ-like" if it didn't purport to preach/teach the Scriptures
- Second, I don't like the feeling I had when I finished a sermon, series, or selected book of the bible and didn't know what I was going to preach/teach next.
expositorily, verse by verse.
I also covered some problems with the commitment to expository preaching, i. e. most men can't or don't do it correctly. It might not be the full answer to the age old question or problem of how to minister to, motivate, and mature the saints. We have become adept at warehousing believers in a Seminary like setting giving them a great education. Unfortunately this education often leaves them filled with facts but unable to principalize biblical texts in order to make Christ-like decisions.
I promised to share with you an idea that has been fermenting in my mind for awhile. I too, had been "caught up" in the idea that one must preach expositorily to the congregation from books of the bible. Like many men, I would prayerfully and with consultation or counsel choose books of the bible to teach verse by verse, phrase by phrase, and word by word. I have had the privilege of teaching through such books as Genesis, part of Job, Daniel, Acts, Romans, Ephesians, I Peter, and Revelation and more. I have even been able to do an expostional harmony of the gospels.
I chose to do these expostional studies on Sunday Mornings because the greatest number of member attended the morning service. As in most congregations, we would have the largest number Sunday morning, a smaller number on Sunday night, and an even smaller number on Wednesday night. I am not much on a Sunday night service so I was able to eventually discontinue said service. As a result it made sense to make much of Sunday morning and teach through a book.
I have since rethought this philosophy. I think I am going to change my process. First, I do believe that our largest attendance will most likely continue to be on Sunday morning. Stop and think about this for a minute. If this is the time I have the largest group of believers, how best can I use this time and opportunity?
If I want the church to understand just what the church is and what it is to be, if I want the church to understand foundational doctrines and truths, if I want the church to know how to suffer biblically, if I want the church to be holy, if I want the church to be equipped to the work of the ministry, if I want the church to know how to properly share the gospel, then why don't I teach these things when I have the greatest amount of the church present at one time?
I also came across Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones commentaries on Romans. I love this set of books! (Careful now don't worship them, OK, I am back under control) What a series of studies on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans. I noticed two things about this series:
- He taught the series from October 1st to the end of May each year for several years.
- He taught this series, this expositional study through a book of the bible on Friday night.
As a result of this encounter and discovery, and the opportunity to think through what I want to accomplish and how I want to accomplish it, I have determined to teach the truths, principals, subjects, concepts, and doctrines on Sunday morning.
I will then, when we have a sufficient and committed core group developed, begin teaching expository bible studies through various books of the bible, beginning with Romans, on Thursday or Friday nights, probably beginning the second Sunday of September through the last Sunday in June.
Tomorrow in part 3 I will share my plan for achieving my goal of feeding, teaching, and equipping the congregation.
What Do You Think?