Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Preaching to the Whole Choir

We've all heard the phrase "preaching to the choir" as an idiom for telling a message to the people who already believe it.  Kevin DeYoung reminded his readings today to strive for Preaching to the Whole Choir .

In any church congregation, on any average Sunday, he says you will find at least four groups of listeners: the Weary, the Wandering, the Lazy and the Lost.
"In most congregations, you’ll have all four groups in church every Sunday (though sadly the last category–self-identified non-Christians–may not always be present). If you only preach to one group you’ll get in a rut and invariably you’ll not be preaching the whole counsel of God.

If your preaching is always aimed at the weary, you’ll do well at emphasizing the grace of God and the tenderness of God. But what about the lazy and the wandering who feel perfectly and mistakenly secure? What about those who do not need a pat on the back but a kick in the pants? It’s good for every sermon to land on the gospel, but sometimes it’s best to wade through a lot of law before you get there.
If you always preach to the wandering and lazy, you’ll give people a good beatin up, but you may hurt the dear saints who come to church most Sundays already feeling beat up. Some sermons should be a trumpet blast, but if that’s all you do, their ears may start to hurt, or worse, they’ll grow deaf to your sound.
And if you only think of the lost in your midst, you’ll be winsome and relevant, but you may not get into the sort of issues that longtime Christians need to hear. You may shy away from necessary controversy and forget that sometimes the lost are earnest seekers, but sometimes they’re just punks (as we all are at times).
Most preachers gravitate toward one or two groups, sometimes for good reason. Bryan Chappell is well suited for the weary, John Piper for the wandering, Matt Chandler for the lazy, Time Keller for the lost. God doesn’t ask us to preach like only someone else can or preach for someone else’s context. But he does want preachers to remember that the choir is made up of more than just sopranos. So when you’re preaching, be sure to hand out more than one part."

Good lesson to remember.