Preachers in a Rut

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by mnw, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. mnw

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    Do you ever feel you get into ruts? I mean, do you find comfortable topics and revovle around them? Or even uncomfortable topics that you keep coming back to?

    Recently I feel many of my sermons have been very "academic", more teaching than preaching. As well they have been very much about judgment and challenging and service and not too much encouragement and just enjoying what Christ has done for us.

    To my understanding expositional preaching should all but ensure we avoid ruts. Also, reading widely and updating my library should also help.

    Any thoughts? What sort of ruts do you get into? How do you avoid them?
     
  2. MRCoon

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    I think that expository preaching is a rut unto itself. While I think that this is a better method of studying the Bible it is also not enough. A pastor needs to be balanced in his preaching/teaching and needs to develop sermons across the spectrum of preaching styles that will feed his flock with both the meat of the word and the side dishes of the word. I'm curious why preachers tend to stay with one style and then they wonder why their people are not as excited for the Word...it is important as preachers to preach the word in balance manner and style!

    It is important to have enthusiasm but it is hard to maintain it ourselves unless we stay true in our studying and desire for service for God! I literally pray daily that the Lord will not take away my joy in serving Him and service to Him. I get a kick out of singing songs whether in the pew or leading from the pulpit. I get such a nervous excitement when I preach or lead a Bible study and pray I never lose it...because this is what makes it real to those who have to hear me. People don't look at their watches or wonder when it will end if the pastor is preaching with an excitement and this adds validity to the message. You know the saying...times fly when your having fun...church should be like this even more!!

    Most Important - I'm not criticizing you Brother or anyone else because we are human and have many things that distract or discourage us...but if you feel you are in a rut then clear your schedule, get away from distractions and get into communion/study with God. You will do more harm to your people and church by continuing to fake it until you 'get out of the rut'! I think we all lose focus at times but when we get to the point of questioning like this then we need to consider that it maybe the Holy Spirit convicting us to get our attitude back in check and get our heart back onto Jesus and his message before we do anymore "service for the people".

    Again don't take this personally I'm speaking from experience and exposure...not at you or your ministry. :saint:
     
  3. PastorSBC1303

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    I think all preachers get into ruts. I personally do not think the problem is preaching or your preaching style but those things are more a reflection of the problem.

    When I find myself in a rut, I try to find sometime just to get by myself with the Lord in prayer and His Word. I often find it helpful to spend time reading in the Psalms, the last half of Isaiah, and Deuteronomy. Not time looking for a sermon or trying to be anything else than just a child of God seeking His heart, mind and purpose.

    Another helpful thing that I have found is get out and do some exercise. I have found one of the best things for me is to get out and jog. Jogging is a great stress reliever for me and it provides a lot of prayer time as well. Maybe you can find something like that in your life that will help shake up that rut.

    There is always a danger of expository preaching becoming solely academic. And we must aim for the mind at times, but we must not neglect the heart. I think one of the biggest problems with many sermons is they neglect the heart of the listener. We must always be looking for ways to take the "academic" and make it relevant to those listening.

    I know what those ruts are like, and I will say a prayer that you can find your way out of that rut.
     
  4. Milady

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    As a person who listens to the preaching, I greatly appreciate the expository preaching.
    I think that people who are truly listening to the message will, through the Holy Spirit, be blessed.
    Remember that God said in 1Cor 1:21] For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
    Don't be discouraged. Follow the other pastor's advice on how to look at things differently, but don't forget to pray that God gives you to speak the words HE WANTS spoken.
    God Bless
     
  5. Milady

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    Also, I forgot to mention. All emotional preaching leads to the congregation thinking emotionally about problems, not the way God wants them to.
     
  6. Hope of Glory

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    Most of the ruts I get myself into involve a small group that wants to argue a point, and as part of that want you to continue going over something they disagree with, even though everyone else is ready to move on. There's a line that you have to look at that will determine which course I choose. Do I want to alienate them or indulge them? But, when a small group wants to belabor points, it can create ruts and it takes a boost from God to get unstuck.
     
  7. mnw

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    I appreciate the comments and will be back online to reply tomorrow. Thanks all.
     
  8. PastorSBC1303

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    I am afraid I do not understand this statement. So is our preaching to be emotionless? :confused:
     
  9. Trotter

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    I think the implication was to preach the word, not preach emotionalism.

    All sermons should contain light and heat... but many (around here, anyway) throw around heat week after week after week, but very little light.
     
  10. mnw

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    MrCoon and SMC both brought out the priority a preacher's personal walk with the Lord must take. I fully agree with that.

    Though, I think young preachers especially struggle with trying to switch off. By that I mean you constantly want and need a message from God to share with others, but then you also need a message from God for yourself. Not something to share, but just something for you.

    As for styles of preaching. Expository is what I lean towards because of the safe guards it affords.

    If I preach through a chapter/book then I will naturally come across the various subjects it brings out. Also, I keep in context and avoid pet topics.

    I do use, but perhaps need to use more, other styles of preaching such as topical and biographical.

    Every now and again I do preach topical sermons but have had a couple of not so good experiances with trying to preach biographically.

    I don't think I am in a rut at the moment. But as I am dealing with a series on the Minor Prophets (the book of the twelve) there has been a lot more study than usual around the circumstances under which the book was written.

    My natural inclination is toward teaching. God has called me to preach and pastor, I have no doubts, but while some seem more inclined to the "preaching" aspect I have become more inclined to teach.

    Someone mentioned balance. That really is the key. From speaking with other pastors/preachers and some of my teachers from Bible school it seems there are some lessons only experiance can teach.

    Milady, I would agree. If it is all emotion than it lacks substance. Our emotions are not 100% reliable and I am reminded of John's repeated use of the word "Know" in his writings. I guess I err away from emotion but am working on letting more show as part of the ever coveted "balance." :)

    Hope mentioned hot topics that keep going around and around. I try to be very cautious and absolutely led of the Lord when deciding what to preach. Especially when an issue has been brought to my attention. I have heard of preachers preaching at an individual within a congregation and it almost always seems to cause offence.

    Now, as I said, I don't believe I am in a rut as God's people have been blessed, or so they say, and we have had people expressing an interest in joining the church.

    However, I guess I just saw a rut looming on the horizon and wanted to keep out rather than get out.
     
  11. mnw

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    MrCoon and SMC both brought out the priority a preacher's personal walk with the Lord must take. I fully agree with that.

    Though, I think young preachers especially struggle with trying to switch off. By that I mean you constantly want and need a message from God to share with others, but then you also need a message from God for yourself. Not something to share, but just something for you.

    As for styles of preaching. Expository is what I lean towards because of the safe guards it affords.

    If I preach through a chapter/book then I will naturally come across the various subjects it brings out. Also, I keep in context and avoid pet topics.

    I do use, but perhaps need to use more, other styles of preaching such as topical and biographical.

    Every now and again I do preach topical sermons but have had a couple of not so good experiances with trying to preach biographically.

    I don't think I am in a rut at the moment. But as I am dealing with a series on the Minor Prophets (the book of the twelve) there has been a lot more study than usual around the circumstances under which the book was written.

    My natural inclination is toward teaching. God has called me to preach and pastor, I have no doubts, but while some seem more inclined to the "preaching" aspect I have become more inclined to teach.

    Someone mentioned balance. That really is the key. From speaking with other pastors/preachers and some of my teachers from Bible school it seems there are some lessons only experiance can teach.

    Milady, I would agree. If it is all emotion than it lacks substance. Our emotions are not 100% reliable and I am reminded of John's repeated use of the word "Know" in his writings. I guess I err away from emotion but am working on letting more show as part of the ever coveted "balance." :)

    Hope mentioned hot topics that keep going around and around. I try to be very cautious and absolutely led of the Lord when deciding what to preach. Especially when an issue has been brought to my attention. I have heard of preachers preaching at an individual within a congregation and it almost always seems to cause offence.

    Now, as I said, I don't believe I am in a rut as God's people have been blessed, or so they say, and we have had people expressing an interest in joining the church.

    However, I guess I just saw a rut looming on the horizon and wanted to keep out rather than get out.
     
  12. mnw

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    MrCoon and SMC both brought out the priority a preacher's personal walk with the Lord must take. I fully agree with that.

    Though, I think young preachers especially struggle with trying to switch off. By that I mean you constantly want and need a message from God to share with others, but then you also need a message from God for yourself. Not something to share, but just something for you.

    As for styles of preaching. Expository is what I lean towards because of the safe guards it affords.

    If I preach through a chapter/book then I will naturally come across the various subjects it brings out. Also, I keep in context and avoid pet topics.

    I do use, but perhaps need to use more, other styles of preaching such as topical and biographical.

    Every now and again I do preach topical sermons but have had a couple of not so good experiances with trying to preach biographically.

    I don't think I am in a rut at the moment. But as I am dealing with a series on the Minor Prophets (the book of the twelve) there has been a lot more study than usual around the circumstances under which the book was written.

    My natural inclination is toward teaching. God has called me to preach and pastor, I have no doubts, but while some seem more inclined to the "preaching" aspect I have become more inclined to teach.

    Someone mentioned balance. That really is the key. From speaking with other pastors/preachers and some of my teachers from Bible school it seems there are some lessons only experiance can teach.

    Milady, I would agree. If it is all emotion than it lacks substance. Our emotions are not 100% reliable and I am reminded of John's repeated use of the word "Know" in his writings. I guess I err away from emotion but am working on letting more show as part of the ever coveted "balance." :)

    Hope mentioned hot topics that keep going around and around. I try to be very cautious and absolutely led of the Lord when deciding what to preach. Especially when an issue has been brought to my attention. I have heard of preachers preaching at an individual within a congregation and it almost always seems to cause offence.

    Now, as I said, I don't believe I am in a rut as God's people have been blessed, or so they say, and we have had people expressing an interest in joining the church.

    However, I guess I just saw a rut looming on the horizon and wanted to keep out rather than get out.
     
  13. mnw

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    double post
     
    #13 mnw, Jun 16, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2006
  14. Hope of Glory

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    If you're not teaching when you're preaching, something's wrong.
     
  15. PastorSBC1303

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    I agree....but also if you are only teaching, then you are not preaching...
     
  16. mnw

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    I agree with you both. Preaching must include teaching, but it is not exclusively teaching.

    TO me preaching is interpretation, explaination and application. Once the Word has been interpreted and explained then it must also be applied.

    If there is only application then people never hear the reasons and it becomes something of a shouting session for the preacher.

    But, and here is perhaps my side of the error, if all the time is taken with interpretation and explaination and not enough time is spent on application this too is wrong.
     
  17. Tom Bryant

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    One of the things that has helped me is to when I do preach expository sermons (about 50% of the time) is to make my points application statements. I do the explanation and exposition, but the main points are oriented towards an action.

    But ruts are hard to get out of. Another thing I have done recently is to have a manuscript of my sermon. When I had only key points and some words to help me remember illustrations or exegesis in my notes, I sometimes found myself repeating old stuff. When I started writing themin their entireity that changed.

    I will eventually go back to the old style, but it's helped to vary it a little.
     
  18. LeBuick

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    I often analogize this to a fuel tanker, he can have thousands of gallons in the big tank on the back but even he needs to pull in and put some fuel in the little tank or he'll run out.
     
  19. blackbird

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    I know what you mean, Trotter!!

    Chicken manure piled up high puts off a lot of heat!!! But spread it around your pasture real thin like and it'll grow grass like crazy!!!!!!:laugh: :laugh: :thumbs:

    I've learned to "spread" my sermons around real thin like----you know---preach through various books and topics---I know that Scripture cannot be exhausted---but we should exhaust ourselves in its preaching!!!
     
  20. Bob Farnaby

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    Maybe one of the issues we have in Baptist churches is in limiting the preaching to just one man. (No, I don't mean that anyone and everyone should preach).

    We each have our natural style, each our different emphasies, our own blind spots, our own favoutrites, and maybe because of that end up not preaching the whole council of God. The use of several regular, appropriately qualified, preachers could well be the solution to this, it would provide variety of style, freshness in poit of view, and less dependance by the congregation on the preacher (usually the pastor) It would also help prevent the "It's MY pulpit" syndrome of some.

    If my memory serves me right, at leasta number oof the early baptist churches seperated the roles of teacher, preacher and pastor, essentially sharing the resposibilities.

    Regards
    Bob
     

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