Friday, 22 July 2011

Preaching styles

So often in life we do things and we're not really sure why, or whether we should make changes. I like thinking about these sort of things.

In this context, I have been giving some thought to our preaching style here at RFC. If I had to describe our style I would probably say that 'we try to let the bible speak for itself (allow the Bible to shape our message) whilst also trying to connect to people through openness'.

I do have great faith and confidence in the Holy Spirit changing lives as the Bible is read & explained. I highly value expository preaching (a form of preaching that throws light upon the meaning of a particular text or passage of Scripture). I think this is one way of expressing confidence in God's word as being sufficient for salvation & right living. 

Systematically working through extended passages or books of the bible also forces preachers to teach the whole counsel of God, not just proof texting their ideas for that message (I know that pressure!).

That said we should also value one-off more 'Prophetic / Holy Spirit prompted' messages and also thematic preaching series that address 'felt needs' within the church. Not everyone can endure 9 weeks systematically working through 1John with ease! 

The Apostles seemed to use this style of preaching, pulling together strands from  the OT to bring understanding to the gospel and the new covenant. Shockingly, at times they even misquoted or went beyond the natural reading of the text and applied it to Christ (In Mark 1v3, Is 40v3 is misquoted and God is replaced with Jesus; In Eph 4v8, Ps 68v18 is misquoted & and applied to Christ). All good food for thought to keep us humble and not overly critical of the preferences of others.

I guess the area of preaching style that I am still journeying on in all this is how we preach in a way that is clearly relevant to the life outside of our gatherings. I don't think we are terrible at that, just that we have a way to go yet ...

... happy to hear your thoughts on this    


Sean Green said...

"Preachers, let eloquence be flung to the dogs rather than souls be lost. Souls are not won by flowery speeches" Spurgeon

dave bish said...

Maybe those OT quotes are less a misquotation and more a filled out true quotation, since the Scriptures are truly Christian. The great advantage of passage by passage approaches to preaching is you get to see all of these, and to treat the literature as literature.

Massive value to persistent passage by passage preaching - long term, but I agree you want to have the option of breaking that for prophetic words, but the passage by passage approach has potential to be deeply prophetic too!

The only real preaching style though is to preach Christ, in whatever way.

Sean Green said...

I guess I should have said 'quoted verbatim' rather than misquoted!

dave bish said...

Its one of the most common questions people (Christian and non-Christian) have about the gospels though... I guess you have a bit in Mark 1 too with the quoting of Isaiah which is actually from Malachi! :) People say that Matthew is the "Jewish" gospel but methinks all four are packed with Old Testament types, allusion, images and quotes.