The Wizard of Oz was a mighty and strong becoming to be feared and respected…until the curtain was drawn back and the Wizard turned out to be a mechanical façade produced by a small man pushing buttons and pulling levers. The classic story came to thoughts this week as I heard two separate stories of megachurch pastors actually outsourcing their Bible study and exegetical sermon preparation function.Apparently the trend is not as uncommon as 1 could consider, while I’m certain not each and every big church pastor utilizes the solutions of outsiders. The plan functions like this-a megachurch pastor has restricted time and quite a few obligation. He basically can’t pour hours of labor into studying the Bible, exegeting the texts, reading commentaries, and researching historical interpretations. So, he hires a credible and educated Bible student to do this function rather. The exegete-for-employ then delivers the necessary points in a summary paper that the pastor can add pertinent illustrations and applications to prior to delivering the sermon to his flock. Am I the only 1 who finds this disturbing? I know what you may possibly be pondering. But Skye, how is that any diverse than the pastor who pulls their exegetical insights from a commentary or theology book? Handful of men and women get started from scratch. We all rely on the function of outsiders, no matter whether theologians or Bible scholars, to create our sermons. These mega-pastors are basically generating the course of action far more effective. That is a valid point. Ahead of I create a sermon I rely on quite a few outsiders for help…a book by N.T. Wright, a commentary by John Stott, a fourth century sermon by John Chrysostom, or even a conversation with a colleague at function. But here’s the difference…I’m wrestling with a text for days, and usually weeks, prior to I preach a sermon. I’m pondering, praying, meditating, and usually fighting with Scripture. It becomes aspect of me. So when I stand prior to the congregation and speak they are not just hearing beneficial truth from the Bible-they are hearing from an individual who has marinated in that truth. And that is some thing that can’t be outsourced. There is worth in the sermon course of action, not just the preaching outcome.
Hope for Bible college and seminary graduates for the duration of the recession?
This revelation that some pastors are now outsourcing their study of the Bible only adds to my issues about the state of preaching nowadays. Several locations, which includes secular newspapers, are reporting on the rise of plagiarism in the pulpit as rising numbers of pastors are downloading sermons on the internet. And the lengthy-term influence of video preaching-exactly where a single gifted orator is beamed to congregations in various areas hence eliminating the will need to create far more Bible teachers-has but to be noticed. For now quite a few are tolerating these trends simply because the preaching is sturdy, the Bible is becoming taught, and the seats are filled. But at what expense? In time we may possibly, like Dorothy, want to escape the fantasy planet we’ve entered. The church of Oz seems strong and could. It is colossal and impressive-till we pull back the curtain.