Would you go to a church where ........

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Crabtownboy, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    I didn't want to lead another thread astray. So I decided to start a new thread with another question.

    For those who are pastors, would you accept the call of a church where you knew you would have to begin by preaching very elementary sermons, in essence 'dumbing them down' and then gradually raise the sermons to higher levels as you educated the congregation?

    How would you go about doing this?

    Perhaps it is often the case, I am not sure.
     
  2. Tom Bryant

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    In a sense, you always have to do this. Most pulpit committees have an optimistic view of the knowledge and spiritual maturity of the congregation. It is not that they are lying or seeking to deceive. So you have to start at the beginning with salvation, Christian growth and disciplines.

    But as you know the congregation - and that takes time spent with them - you can adjust your preaching calendar.

    I've only pastored 2 churches, so others mileage will vary, but I've started with salvation on Sunday mornings and then trying to move on to more meaty messages.
     
  3. Tom Butler

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    Tom, when you talking about more meaty messages, for example?
     
  4. exscentric

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    Since Eph 4 tells us the pastors are for training the saints, if that is what they need of course I'd take the church and do what is needed.

    Having said that I would not assume they are bunch of dunces either, that is why you get to know your people.
     
  5. webdog

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    There is no scriptural mandate for what and how one is to preach when we gather. I tend to like the sermon being life application, then the "meatier" portions of Scripture discussed in a small group format. I believe worship and refreshing from the world is the purpose of the assembly of the church.
     
  6. annsni

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    We've had to do just that with the new church and I'm not sure how we're going to end up but right now, hubby has actually been able to teach to the new believer AND the old believer (many have commended him on this). But I think that we do need to be able to address the new believer and the old one - sometimes having to have a class for the new believer or a discipleship situation or else having a deeper class for those who want to dive deeper if the congregation is really "young" in the faith. I think the important thing is to not teach "over" those in the congregation so each congregation may be a bit different.
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    I agree that there is no Scriptural mandate about the how we preach God's ways and words to our people. Some pastors do well with one style and approach over another.

    The big thing is that you got to know your people and know where they are spiritually. Some congregations can deal with heavier, more meatier topics and others need lighter fare, or more milk as the writer of Hebrews would call it.

    I would imagine that any pastor worth his degree and calling would be able to a) assess his congregation as to their spiritual fitness and then be able to b) develop a preaching calendar that helps challenge and grow them over the course of several years.

    That said one thing we should keep in mind that while sermons are places where spiritual transformation does happen, the primary place for spiritual transformation is in a small group setting and in the mission field (be it local, national, or international.) Any pastor who believes that his sermons will be the tool that solely grows people from point A to point Z is neglecting the full ministry of the church.

    BTW, Helmut Thielicke has a great book on this very thing called A Little Exercise for Young Theologians that is very short but very impacting.
     
  8. webdog

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    Also, as someone who loves a great stake I also enjoy a nice tall glass of cold milk on occasion. Sometimes we can get so caught up in doctrine that we forget the fundamentals of the faith.
     
  9. Tom Bryant

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    I am not saying to get away from salvation, but to add to it preaching about doctrinal issues, eternal security, the Holy Spirit, church discipline and the like.

    Preaching Jesus, I agree completely. The early church met in the Temple and in houses, so even then there were small groups. There's a need for them all.
     
  10. Aaron

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    As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby, 1 Pet. 2:2.

    I love to tell the story,
    For those who know it best
    Seem hungering and thirsting
    To hear it like the rest.

    The power of the Gospel is its simplicity, and God has chosen the simpleton, the uneducated and the fool (those who are such in the eyes of the world) to upset the philosopher and the wise man. The call of a church in which most vaunt themselves as sophisticated is the dubious call, and the pastor who thinks he knows anything knows nothing as he ought to know.
     
  11. go2church

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    The house church/ planting movement does this all the time. Start with a small group and focus on Jesus and salvation. As the group grows you move on to gradually deeper subjects with the initial group.
     
  12. David Lamb

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    I agree we must have a knowledge of our congregation. And that knowledge may lead us to preach very basic sermons, because perhaps we know that many in the congregation have only recently been converted, or may not even claim to be Christians at all. If that is the case, more mature Christians present will surely not object to hearing again the "wonderful words of life." ("Basic" doesn't have to mean "dumbing down," anyway). Also, there must be provision for those more established in the faith to be built up, taken deeper into the Word.
     
  13. glfredrick

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    I'd note that "doctrine" IS the fundamentals of the faith. The two are one.

    On a more general note, I've also noticed the need to start very generally and move toward more specific preaching as one builds on a good and solid foundation of biblical truth.

    That is not to say that every congregation needs "dumbed down" sermons. A new pastor ought to know something of his predecessor's style and content, and that should be easy to discover if only by interviewing the congregation members. I can imagine how tough it would be to follow a well-trained, disciplined expository preacher who carefully taught his people for a decade or more. Dumbing down sermon content to a congregation like that would be a mistake.

    Finally, I've often found that preaching through an entire Bible book, even if the series is only 2-3 sermons, will cover a lot of bases and give ample meat for any congregation. My own church featured a 2-year journey, preaching through the OT and NT, of course, not even one sermon for every Bible book, but still a great overview with plenty of challenging texts. The growth of our congregation during that time was phenomenal! (I was not the preacher) We are currently preaching through a series called "Faithmapping" about the individual roles that we all play as gospel believers, starting with a series within a series on the gospel, then proceeding to our identities: worshiper, learner, family, servants, and missionaries.

    Here is the devotional our staff writes for the congregation to study at home for the 2 weeks devoted to "worshipers."

    Here is a link to the audio sermons in the series so far (plus other sermon links): http://sojournchurch.com/category/sermon/faithmapping/

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3844787/worship devo.pdf
     
  14. Jerome

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    Which is better, a church that considers salvation itself "meaty" and is continually blessed with those who need to hear it for the first time and saints who never tire of it, or a congregation is "beyond all that"?
     
  15. glfredrick

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    No congregation of "saved" persons will tire of hearing the gospel. What else do we have to preach? Even if we preach the contents of the Scriptures, from money to marriage, we cannot do so apart from the gospel!

    But, some preach the gospel as a mere call to evangelism. The gospel is MUCH more than a mere altar call to accept Christ. It is THAT level of simplicity that causes a dumbed-down congregation.

    I am not sure how (or why) any congregation would get "beyond all that" in regards to the actual gospel. I'm not sure we CAN get "beyond all that." But, I also know that some try -- and that is where they go astray of the Word of God, which is itself wrapped up in the gospel from cover-to-cover. When we do "get beyond all of that" we end up with crud like the Jesus Seminar, Liberal theology, social ministry, etc.
     
  16. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Personally I would not go to a church that doesn't teach election nor would I hire a Pastor who doesn't teach & preach it. But thats how I roll.
     
  17. glfredrick

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    In so doing, you have accomplished two big things. First, you have insured that no church that has a doctrine that may not be complete, scripturally, will ever see the truth of the Word, and second, you have limited available churches to under 1/3 of all currently, as the entire baptistic church world is slowly drifting theologically to a man-centered doctrine.
     
  18. Tom Bryant

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    This might come across as mean and I don't mean it that way, but I would never go to a church where they talk about "hiring" a pastor.
     
  19. annsni

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    Let's see - you interview, you go over salary package, you accept their application and they now put down as their employer "So and So Baptist Church". Sounds like "hire" to me. :D
     
  20. Tom Bryant

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    And therein lies the problem with most churches calling a pastor and why way too many pastors run to a bigger package.

    I understand what is meant but whenever i hear (or, in this case, see) those words, I think of Jesus' comments about what a hireling does when trouble comes (John 10:12-13)
     

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