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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by PastorSBC1303, Sep 15, 2006.
The Problem of Preaching to Felt Needs
That is a message all of us in ministry need to listen to.
We need to move back to preaching :jesus:, and His death, burial, and His ressurection.
And telling people how to be saved.
I agree. But we also need to tell them how the Bible says they are to live once they're saved. So many "church folk" are ignorant when it comes to knowing how their faith in Christ sould affect their lives.
The Creator of the universe doesn't take up residencey in someone's life without changing things!
I was just doing some work around the place and God laid on my heart how one of our church problems is that we are ignorant of a common definition of what sin is.
I honestly think we have been so long without preaching on sin (as a church culture) that many people do not have the same definitions any more.
We no longer feel the necessity for brokenness before God for offending Him. I think I am preaching again - God bless.
A lot of churches think that a church will grow if the preacher preaches to felt needs. Imagine what school would be like if the teacher taught classes according to the felt needs of the students. That is what so often happens when parents become the experts and badger the schol board and teachers instead of disciplining their children to study.
I don't think a Pastor should preach on felt needs. On the other hand, I believe the Pastor, Deacons, and other strong Christians in the church should deal with these one on one. A minister answered my question about the best way to go about evangelism one time by saying that the Church needs to let the community know that they love them. This is probable even more true within the congregation.
When I had a somewhat serious heart operation two years ago the Pastor, Deacons and others visited me in the hospital. But what struck me more (because you expect the Pastor to visit with you in the hospital) was the fact that the women of the church brought food for me for the 7 weeks I was convalesing at home. My personal experience was that I had perhaps never experienced what the early church was like more than then.
I have a good friend in the church who is disabled. He was in my Sunday School class along with another guy who had problems with divorce, losing his job, etc. I used to meet him down by the river and try to help him figure things out. I give my disabled friend money from time to time and try to supportive with him as well. I felt myself drawn to these two guys because I saw that they might be the neediest people in the church. Then, when I lost my job the tables turned. They helped me keep optimistic about things in general.
I never feel as close to the Lord as when I get involved in these kind of personal "missions."
Personally, I think Dr. Mohler is completely out of touch on this as he is on most other things. He says:
Now, if you're a pastor in Honduras, it might be okay to define your ministry as meeting needs, because more people in Honduras have interesting biblical needs – food, clothing, housing. But most people in the churches I know get those needs met without prayer.
I could take him less than 10 miles away from the SBTS and show him a lot of people in dire need. No, not of "orgasm, a satisfying career, an enjoyable love life, a positive outlook on life, and stuff the Bible has absolutely no interest in."
The guy just doesn't care about people. He cares about power, politics, and theology.
Do you know Dr. Mohler at all? Have you ever talked with him? What do you base this perspective on?
StraightAndNarrow, I'm afraid you let your distrust of Al Mohler get in your way in your response to his message. First, it was not Mohler per se who spoke of serving in Honduras; it was William Willimon. Mohler quoted him, but that does not mean that his views are limited to Willimon's, which I read as an attempt to be colorful and to overstate the point in order to get the reader's attention. Second, I am sure that both Willimon and Mohler know that there are poor people in every U. S. city and that one does not have to go to Honduras to find them; their point is that when it comes to preaching -- not service, but preaching -- you might reach those folks by preaching about what they feel they need (or better, you may not reach them unless and until you demonstrate that you care about their needs). Both are saying that in middle and upper middle class America, people think their "needs" are for self-satisfying and ultimately self-centered esoteric things.
I am not a Mohler fan either, but am glad that he recognized a nugget of truth in somebody whose perspective is really quite different from his. Willimon is always provocative; one wonders how he made it into the hierarchy of the United Methodist Church. I cannot think of Baptist state executives who are as interesting as he is!
I'll be that guy I guess because I see nothing wrong with preaching to felt needs and actually think that we need to do more of it in our churches.
You preach (big group) to the meet the needs of your hearers...you teach (small groups) to feed the need for spiritual development.
Is it about growing big churches? Is it about trying to get away from the biblical text? not at all. One thing to point out is that the church where I get to serve we preach to felt needs and teach for spiritual development, yet in each we unashamedly present the Gospel as the final (or maybe for some) the first place to get your true needs met.
One big difference to note is that we don't approach proclamation like the Osteens (whose church is pictured in the article.) Our pastor is dedicated to excellence in proclamation and in preaching to meet the real needs of people in our congregation.
On that note I want to disagree with Dr. Mohler's first point. Walk into our church, or your church, and ask people what their problems, difficulties, and life issues are and they'll have absolutely no problem listing about five (if not more) major things they struggle with daily. We certainly know what our needs in this life are, and so long as we faithfully proclaim Christ, who cares if we don't give a three point alliterated sermon on the doctrine of secondary separation and why the catholic church is the wrong church. If we can't get people beyond our churchianity we it much harder to bring them towards a relationship with Christ.
Not every sermon should be an solely evangelistic sermon, but every sermon should have the Gospel of Christ presented. In preaching to meet real life needs we always present the truth and authenticity of Christ. We believe that if we are going to impact people and begin to move them from obersever to participant we need to bring them life lesson rooted in the Word with salvation as the source of hope. If we really believe the Holy Spirit is the principle inspirer to prod the lost towards conversion then there should be nothing wrong with preaching as we feel led so long as we speak the truth in love and tendered with the beauty of the Gospel.
Granted most people in here (Dr. Mohler included) don't agree with the Purpose Driven way of doing church business nor do they care much for seeker driven services. While I have no desire to justify our (and my) philosophies and convictions on this...we choose to work this way out of a conviction for reaching the lost in a particular way, yet you will never hear a sermon or a lick of teaching against the more traditional models out there. Why is it I go into more traditional model churches and hear venom against our approach? I'm just very befuddled by this.
Anyhoo, I believe preaching to felt needs drives people towards realizing their God given giftedness and God ordained place in Christ. We preach for real life needs because that will spur people towards seeing Christ as the One person who can meet all their needs. It's not popular...in Christendom...but it sure is meeting the needs of prostitutes, pimps, and pagans who wander into our church for a glimpse of hope.
Let me also add that I appreciate and deeply respect Dr. Mohler. While I find myself disagreeing with him on a growing number of issues I cannot help but give a moment of tribute to his service for the Kingdom.
Just a couple questions/thoughts for discussion:
1. Is there an example of a "felt needs" sermon in Scripture that we can look at?
2. If Joe and Sally are in your congregation and are dealing with marriage problems, and Ben and Mary are dealing with rebellious teenagers and Jim and Lori are having financial problems, how can the pastor even attempt to meet all of these "felt needs" in one message? Is it even possible? The majority of people are going to leave feeling their "needs" were not met, right?
3. Is felt needs preaching more man-centered than God-centered?
The only time I could see preaching to "felt" needs would be if a tragedy occured that involved the whole church... Like an unexpected death of a prominent member, and the whole church is mourning...
But I'm not sure that is a "felt" need... That is the pastor using his gift of shepharding. It would be a real need...
When a church has been through a church split it may be necessary to preach about forgiveness, and moving forward. But again, those are not "felt" needs, those are real needs.
Right now our church needs sermons that go back to the basics.
When you use a quote to support your position you indicate you support the position of the person you're quoting.
I know what he's said publically. Do you know him personally? My twin brother was at SBTS when Mohler was president. Were you there under Mohler?
I was just wondering if this statement is a quote? Seems like you might want to sign it or something. :smilewinkgrin:
I am currently a doctoral student at SBTS. I would not say I know Dr. Mohler personally at all. I have had the chance to talk to him, and I found him to be extremely gracious and very interested in people.
I have read just about everything Dr. Mohler has written. I would love to see some quotes/articles by Mohler in support of your statements.
Tim, we just had this happen with the death of our Pastor Emeritus. BUT the sermon was still drenched in scripture as we looked at the role of pastors. So in this case, the felt need and the real need were the same.
But you said "He says:", as if it were Dr. Mohler who said it, and it was not Dr. Mohler who said it. You were either careless or dishonest. I think you were just careless but we all ought to be careful about this kind of thing.
Surely you don't think really Dr. Mohler is against preparing food for people recuperating from surgery or helping those who are going through a divorce or helping a disabled friend? What does doing any of that have to do with what we ought to preach? I don't see the connection.
No, just a wise saying.
The quote in question is a good example.
"Now, if you're a pastor in Honduras, it might be okay to define your ministry as meeting needs, because more people in Honduras have interesting biblical needs – food, clothing, housing. But most people in the churches I know get those needs met without prayer."
You don't have to be in Honduras to have serious basic needs. I suggest that he needs to drive west on Broadway into the west end of Louisville to find out if there are any people out there that have needs other than "orgasm, a satisfying career, an enjoyable love life, a positive outlook on life, and stuff the Bible has absolutely no interest in." I think this statement demonstrates that he doesn't care anything about poor people in his own back yard.