Recently, in a couple of different environments, I’ve been asked to talk about the “focus of my preaching.”
In both cases, I believe the desired answer would have been evangelistic in nature. I believe those asking the question wanted to hear, “When I preach, it’s about getting people to come to Jesus. It’s about winning souls.”
I’m pretty sure that’s what they wanted to hear me say. However, that wasn’t my response.
Rather than talking about “getting people to come to Jesus”, my answer went like this:
I am totally a Jesus guy. I am fully convinced that following the way of Jesus is the best way to live. When I preach, my goal is to shed a little light on the way of Jesus, offer a word of grace, a word of hope, maybe a word of challenge. My overall goal in preaching is to get people to think for themselves. I believe that, for too long, our preaching has focused on telling people what to believe, rather than inviting them to join us on a journey of discovery. I don’t want my preaching to come off as an “I’m right and you’re wrong” kind of soapbox grandstanding. I want to explore culture, history, context, tradition, and wrestle with that. I want to ask and explore questions. I want to leave people with questions of their own and a desire to discover the answers. More than anything, my desire is that my preaching will cause people to do their own wrestling.
As I gave this answer, I could see a look of disappointment come across their face.
I like to think I’m a fairly decent preacher. I will never claim to have all the answers. And, for some (especially within more conservative circles), that’s disappointing.
I’m just not an “altar call” kind of preacher. I’m more of a “join us on the journey” kind of preacher. There are probably pro’s and con’s to both.
So, as we journey together on this blog and podcast, I hope we leave you with questions. I hope we leave you with a desire to search and wrestle. I hope we cause you to think for yourself!