Question: What Do You Think?

I’m curious.  

I have a couple of questions and would love to hear your response.  I preach/teach primarily to Christian people.  I am reflecting on my teaching/preaching right now.  This is why I am asking these questions.

If you don’t mind, think about your own church.  Think about the people who gather together each week.  This may be a small group or a rather large group of people.  What is it that these people would love to hear taught?  If you know this church, you may have an idea of the kind of subjects that really make them come alive.  I am wondering about the kind of subjects that these people would love to see addressed in the next few weeks.

Now think about these people as you know them.  Think about their lives.  Think about this church and its ministry.  What is it that you believe this church really needs to hear preached/taught? 

If you don’t normally comment, I want to encourage you to consider responding to this one.  Thanks. 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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24 thoughts on “Question: What Do You Think?

  1. I think that I would tell the people how God is apart of their lives whether they know or need him. Because we are made from him, we are here for his sole desire and his desire only.

    I would tell them that the only that will matter once we leave this earth are the things done for God, whether it be feeding someone else’s dog or giving away your last dollar to someone in need. Everything else will not matter.

  2. Jim, I wanna thank you for the way you value our comments and thoughts, even if we are new – so counter-cultural from most of the blogs/forums I read.
    My church at the moment is struggling with deep divisions and our leaders have been suffering a lot of destructive and spiteful criticism. It tears me apart to see this in our church. And although we could quite easily do with hearing some teaching on say, a passage like Heb 13:17, I think we need to go back to the basics. We have so much bible knowledge, but we seemed to have missed God’s heart.
    Our Father doesn’t want us to destroy our leaders with ‘perfect’ theology. God is not impressed with how many bible verses we can quote while discouraging and criticising our brothers and sisters. He doesn’t want us to be involved in every ministry in our church, if we are only doing them to be seen as ‘holy’.
    I really think my church needs to things like 1 Cor 13, 1 John 3, all of James – even Micah 6:6-8 or Amos 5:21-24. We need to go back to the heart of our God – what does He want from us? How does He want us to live? We have a lot of knowledge, but our actions reveal just how far we are from God.   
    And I think this is something we all need to hear regularly – are our actions pleasing to God? Are we living up to the calling we have received? Are we actually imitating Christ? These are the things my church needs to ask itself.

  3. Often times what people want to hear preached is different to what I think they need to hear being preached.  I do not want to begin a hate on Joel Osteen fest but I think many people want to hear someone tell them that it is easy to be a Christian and that if they remain in the Lord’s favor their life will go well.  Well that’s not true and certainly fails in the call to the cost of discipleship.
    So having said that I have been so thrilled that we spent a year on the book of Mark laying a foundation for a series on discipleship and then Dan spent 1/2 a year talking about discipleship and what it means to be a disciple where we live, work, play and worship.  He has followed that up with some lessons on how God transforms our hearts through the spiritual disciplines and cultivating the fruit of the spirit.  All tied together over a 2 year period. 
    Our members have responded so well and have been challenged to look at their lives and ask the hard questions about whether they just attend church or if they are on a journey to be a more fully alive disciple.  Good but hard stuff.
    Another series that went over so well was a cooperative curriculum for small groups, teens, bible classes and sermons that the ministers here wrote called, Lord of the Kings.  It traced major theological themes through both Old and New Testament, tying together what we often only know as fragmented stories. Very powerful for both newer Christians and older members.
    Just some thoughts.

  4. Hello Marc,I like Keller.  He is a good thinker and a good student of the culture.  I have heard a number of his sermons and have been impressed with the way he has approached several issues.Thanks again.  I hope you will comment again, Marc. 

  5. D.,Thanks very much.  I really do value these comments.  It is helpful to occasionally ask a question to readers who are from all over the United States and several other countries.  So–thanks for what you said.Very sad regarding your church.  You say something very significant as you speak of a people who know much Bible but aren’t seeing God’s heart.  How important!  When we miss his heart, we invariably miss it in the way we treat people.I want that be sure that I am not just a container for Scripture but that I am being transformed or authentically changed by Scripture. 

  6. In our church, we follow a six-year plan that takes us through all the books of the bible. Similarly, in the ministry I speak for, I don’t get to choose the passages I speak on.

    So. In that case, I find I’m always relying on the Holy Spirit to bring forward something from the Word that is relevant for the listeners. And of course I always tell personal stories. As a congregant, I like to hear stories from the pulpit. They engage me, even if they are different from my own. And it’s always the stories that stay with me, and urge me through the weeks, even the years, towards new places in God.

  7. Our congregation is a good mix of mature, growing, and new Christians. Generally, our Wednesday evenings are taught by the various staff ministers. Pastor usually gives the subject matter/guidelines and each one is free to present in their own way. Some bridge the gap very well, others really struggle; I mean, they are too remedial or too deep.
    I think our church could really benefit with teaching on the Early New Testament church. Not just the principles we can apply today, but a good solid historical base. In discovering the history, our church would recognize the similarities to our own. Then would acquire a better understanding of how to apply the principles.

  8. I think it would be good to really look at Jesus’ ministry in depth and how we should reflect His ministry, since we tend to have a limited view of Him. What were the motives behind His actions? How do we move beyond ourselves and our own needs to really care and love those around us, as well as the poor, the sick, and the needy? I know I’m in CA and around people in their 20s and 30s who are self-focused and also value worldly things, so I wonder what it takes to get beyond merely living comfortable lives.

  9. Believe it or not, Jim, the series I did that brought the most comments, the most sustained interest over the months I did it and the most requests for sermon tapes was on dying, death, heaven and hell. I was amazed at the response of our church to that series.

  10. Arlene, This line is so true."I think many people want to hear someone tell them that it is easy to
    be a Christian and that if they remain in the Lord’s favor their life
    will go well."
    I am afraid there are many, many people who have bought into this one.The Mark series sounds like it has been very effective.Thanks… 

  11. I think every church needs to hear a God-centered message. Too many churches are not hearing this…..

    "The God-centered message is essentially the proclamation of a God who is sovereign in mercy and judgment, sovereign in creation and redemption—the mighty Lord on whom man depends for all good, both in nature and grace. To put it another way, the God-centered message is God and His way with man. The subject of the man-centered message is man and the things God does for him, or the help God gives him."-Ernest Reisinger, Today’s Evangelism

  12. Kristine,I was particularly struck by what you said regarding Jesus’ motives.  I suspect these would stand in contrast to the self-centered motives we are more familiar with. 

  13. Sista Cala,Very good.  I suspect you are correct.  Probably many of us would benefit by looking at the earliest Christians trying to see Jesus through their eyes and watching how they lived out their faith.

  14. L.L.I really like what you said regarding the importance of stories and preaching.  I agree with you on the importance of these stories.  They have a way of being remembered long after the message has been shared. 

  15. Learning and understanding the bible is important. But I feel that we need to focus less on teaching knowledge and focus more on allowing people to experience God. We live in a world where knowledge is a click away, but experience takes a lifetime. Words are easily forgotten, but actions are hard to forget. Could we feed 5,000? Could we heal the sick? Could we free people of their guilt, pain and suffering? Or are we going to hold it over their head as we lengthen are tassels.

    Sorry got on my soap box.

  16. B.J.You make a good point.  In fact, to distinguish between knowing/experiencing/doing etc. is very modern.  David spoke of "tasting" the word of God (Ps. 19:9-10).  For him, Scripture was not just cerebral but something to be experienced.  So often, Scripture can’t even be understood without an attempt to live out the Gospel.  (As per your examples.)Far too often, the wonderful examples you cite are lost to churches today because we have taken a very different road with Scripture.Thanks for making a good point.