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How Sermonizing is Not Shepherding & More..

Discussion in 'Full and Part Time Ministry' started by emperormar, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. emperormar

    emperormar Hep Cat Daddio!

    There is no biblical evidence of a sermon (non-interactive monologue) being "preached" to a group of Christians in the New Testament. What we do see is open participatory meetings where "each one" has songs, teachings, revelations, etc (1 Corinthians 14:26). Thinking every time the word "preach" is used in translation of scripture it means "preach a sermon" is making an assumption not based on study. There is no such thing as a "pulpit" in the New Testament. Today's type of "preaching" is based on the traditions of men & misapplications of old covenant scripture.

    I don't think the Word of God "should be preached" among Christians as most people understand preaching (sermonizing). The traditions of men are an inferior substitute to the ways of God. I've heard preachers admit in sermons that sermons/monologues/lectures are the least effective form of communication/teaching but then blame the audience for not remembering sermon material. That would be like a coach intentionally training his team in the least effective way possible & blaming the team for being lousy.

    To me there is a big difference between preaching & teaching. I don't consider an impersonal, non-interactive relay of information to be teaching. If you research the uses of the word preach & teach in scripture you'll see that preaching (usually meaning proclaiming or announcing) is something done for Non-Christians to make them aware of the gospel. You'll see that there are times that "preaching and teaching" are mentioned together hinting that they are separate things.

    While I am aware that teaching does happen in churches, the sermon is something that falls short of the biblical idea of teaching (you could call biblical teaching discipling). While it could be called preaching (proclaiming) it is something we never see done in a Christian assembly in scripture. There are countless ways that sermonizing is harmful to the body. The message that always points back to the love of God & the finished work of Christ (the true gospel) will prevent most of that harm from occurring. The sermon, in most churches, is touted as the essential "main-event" of the normal Christian life. When it is touted as such that is one of its most harmful elements because its non-interactive & impersonal nature actually stops people from relating to & loving one another, instead it forces them into silence.

    Sermonizing is Not Shepherding
    We never see "preaching" associated with "shepherds/pastors" in scripture either. We hear that shepherds "feed the flock." What is feeding? Is feeding throwing food into a large crowd & never knowing if anyone in the crowd catches and eats anything? Where is the evidence that someone was fed? It is assumed that because you spread the seed that people are fed. Sermons don't accomplish feeding. The only type of feeding I would say a sermon does is like that of a grocery store. If people come in and appropriate the food they can feed themselves from it. Throwing food at people's mouths (ears) to me is not feeding. When I think "feeding" I think of how one would feed a baby or a small motherless animal. I would consider The Great Shepherd Jesus' interactive & personal discipling to be feeding.

    Seeing-over a crowd when you preach is not the same as overseeing (teaching & guarding). Hebrews 13:17 says that overseers (the same thing as pastors/elders) are "those who are alert to the condition of your lives." You can't be alert to some one's condition when you aren't even relating to them. Sermons are non-relational. Sermons don't accomplish shepherding in any sense. The sermon itself does not accomplish biblical shepherding. When something is preached to a passive crowd it is all on the crowd to pay attention and feed themselves. It is no different than watching a sermon on television. People can learn from those but that doesn't mean "Televangelist Whoever" is shepherding them. There isn't shepherding it is just a relay of information.

    In Ephesians 4:11, the only time shepherds is used for people other than Jesus and literal shepherds, it calls them shepherd-teachers. Shepherding does involve teaching & fellowshipping is essential to shepherding. If there is no relationship between someone & their pastor/shepherd it is impossible to be shepherded. Shepherding is personal & relational. Sermons are just as personal on TV as they are in person. Based on my study of scripture I would say that sermons do not accomplish shepherding in any sense from the shepherd's standpoint. While people can and do learn from sermons, preaching a sermon is not shepherding at all.

    Church Service is Extra-Biblical
    While the preacher speaks people have to be quiet & listen. It literally stops people from relating to one another for that time frame, which is the majority of the time they spend assembled together. One another relating cannot be done during a sermon. To share Christ in us with one another is the most important part of the Christian life, it is what scripture calls God's eternal purpose. So if the sermon is the "main event," building one another up etc. is less important & to most not even part of the normal "church experience."

    Announcing testimonies, praises, & prayer requests does not accomplish most of the one anothering spoken of in scripture. Announcing good things (you could biblically call this "preaching") is beneficial but it is still not relational.

    Typical Sunday morning church meetings go something like this,
    Greet each other very briefly (usually with cliché greetings); Announce your testimonies, praises, & prayer requests to the congregation; Sing and don't talk to each other; Listen to the sermon and don't talk to each other; meeting over.

    The elements & time managed structure of the meeting "actually stops people from relating to & loving one another." When the church comes together it has "better things to do" than sharing Christ in us with one another. You can hope that somehow the sermon or another element has inspired people to love & relate but overall the meeting itself does not even allow it to happen during its duration.

    Example overrides information. What you do in practice is what people take as truth more so than your words. This is one of the things I mean when I said, "the gospel stops most of that harm from occurring" because in practice information from a sermon is touted as more important than relationships. Why? Because relating is something you are supposed to do outside of the meeting. 40 minutes or so is given to a sermon & maybe 2 minutes given to a meet & greet.

    So the "church service" is an event to attend like a concert. The modern church service is something extra-biblical. This type of meeting, including the sermon, is not endorsed or even found in scripture. It bears almost no resemblance to the assembling talked about in 1 Corinthians 14 & Hebrews 10. Sure it can be beneficial but the traditions of men are still an inferior substitute to the ways of God. This Sunday morning church service is touted as the main event of the normal Christian life (often with the sermon as the primary portion of the service) but it is an extra-biblical substitute for genuine relationships & relational meetings where everyone can contribute. Meetings that are led by Christ the Head instead of led by programs, preparations, & preachers.

    Reposted from my blog: Loved by God, Loving Others: How Sermonizing is Not Shepherding & More..