Continuing my highly derivative series on church trends, the next six are from Carey Nieuwhof’s post 6 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2017.
Trend 15: Preaching Will Fuse Both The Head And The Heart
I believe the most effective preachers in the future will be those who fuse the head and the heart in their preaching. …
Information alone doesn’t bring about transformation. Preaching to the head can lead to a changed mind, but not a changed life. …Preaching only to the heart creates emotional followers, whose faith rises and falls with their feelings.The goal, of course, is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
Preaching that reflects that goal will connect far better.
I’m no expert in preaching. The technical term is homiletics. And oddly enough, our educational programs for preachers are often very weak on homiletics. We teach plenty of Greek and lots of theology — but a motivated, bright minister ought to be able to read commentaries and books on theology for himself. It seems to me that the help he needs is how to use the pulpit to the greatest and best effect. And yet the typical Bible major may only have a three-hour course in preaching — even though the graduates are going to be hired, evaluated, paid, and retained (or not) based on how well they preach. Because it matters.
Now, we’ve inherited a pulpit model borrowed from universities and other schools where the preacher is the source of superior Bible knowledge, and the sermon is the primary means of transmitting Bible knowledge from the expert to the pewsitter. And this will no longer do.
First, because of the Internet and Amazon, many members will be more theologically knowledgeable than the preacher. A four-year Bible degree — even with an M.Div. tacked on — does not necessarily make him the best Bible scholar in church. For that matter, those people who really want to understand a book of the Bible can find more information in 10 minutes on the Internet than the preacher can possibly cover in a 5-part series.
Second, why is information transmittal even the goal? Why doesn’t the preacher instead acquaint the members with great resources on, say, spiritual formation? Why not initiate internal conversations about the mission of the church? Why not help the members share their God-experiences? Their answered prayers? The way God has worked in their lives? Maybe the preacher serves best as a coordinator of communications among the members?
Just an idea …