Text: 2 Tim. 4:1-6
by Robert J. Young

Preaching is plastic, strange, weird. Or is that preachers? Preaching is moldable, unpredictable, ever changing. When you think you know what you are doing in preaching, the rules change. Society changes, culture changes. The thinking of those in need of Christ, the thinking of those in Christ changes.
How can one preach? How build meaningful, helpful, significant messages, build on one another, encourage, strengthen? I admit I do not always know what to do.

The young preacher prepares his sermon, "Rules for building a great church." A few years later his sermon title only gives suggestions, then hints, eventually tips for building churches in some parts of the country some of the time. Before quit preaching, can visualize there will be fantasies for growing churches.

The Challenge
Let us preach to reach people with the word of God. John 6:44ff gives the challenge: listen, learn, come. This means we who preach must speak, teach, help. We are too isolationist. We must interact with our world. Our evangelism has gone from personal to impersonal. We are present, but not proclaiming nor persuading. We have focused too much on conceiving new spiritual babes and too little on raising them up in the Lord.
We have enabled religion by proxy through evangelism by suction. When people do visit our assemblies, we are not equipped to handle them. In Bible classes, worship, activities, nursery, the list goes on and on.
There are reasons for all this. In '50s, we were converting people like us. Today that is no longer the case. We are not ready for the unchurched. We are working in today's world with people who by and large do not know the Bible. We do not know the Bible as we once did. Our preachers do not know the Bible as they once did.

Today, the foundation of our lesson is not specifically biblical/textual as is generally the case. But our question is a biblical question. How can we make a difference in our changing world? What is the nature of that world? How can one preach. I suggest five things, a memorable acrostic, but more than that, eseential elements in the life of the preacher, and in the life of the church.

1. Fidelity. We must seek relationships. Something dependable. Belonging, security, acceptance.

2. Activism. We are wanting our life to make a difference. Where is the significance? How can we make a difference?

3. Inspiration. We must refocus on spiritual things, get in touch with the inner self.

4. Truth. What is nature of truth? Many do not agree that there is an objective truth, but our world is searching for the nature of reality.

5. Harmony. Less violence. How can we get along.

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Last updated February 20, 2001.