A Strong Word to Preachers . . . and their Hearers!

This quote comes from the book "The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal" by Chuck Swindoll.

There is a major problem with adapting a church to fit the lost person, rather than the church following God’s design for what He intended it to be. Here it is, plain and simple. The church is a body of people called out from among the world for the distinct and unique purpose of glorifying their Savior and Lord. Nowhere in the book of Acts or the Epistles do we see a church called to provide a subculture for nonbelievers. The lost don’t need to find at church a world that’s like their world outside the church. The church is not competing with the world. Jesus is not a brand.

The church needs to guard against compromising the Word of God so that it tastes more palatable to newcomers. Christians suffer when we do that. I’ve said for years, “Sermonettes are for Christianettes.” If our churches give a little eight-minute sermon, we are not feeding the flock. Instead of teaching them, we’re tantalizing them. Instead of stretching and challenging them, we’re entertaining them. Our congregations need pastors who study hard, pray hard, and prepare well-balanced meals, then open the Scriptures and teach people how to study the Word for themselves. That’s what gives them stability in hard times, discernment in the midst of deception, and the strength to stand alone.

When you hear a message from your pastor, rather than passively listening, you are actively engaged. You are devoting yourself wholeheartedly to truths that are worthy of your time and attention. As he preaches through a passage of Scripture, you have your finger on the text—if not literally, at least mentally. You are serious about the Word of God. Your participation replaces false information—or maybe traditional information, half true and half not—with accurate information. The teaching of the Word becomes your nourishment. It points you to critical reminders about God. When we learn about our God through the faithful and passionate preaching of His Word, our worship of Him grows increasingly deeper, more meaningful, and understandable. Listening and responding to biblical teaching in this way is an act of worship.