Summer unofficially started yesterday. The new season is off to a less than auspicious start. It’s been noted in the last several days that we are grappling with two viruses, one new, the other very old.
The covid-19 pandemic that arrived in the United States in January is new. It has disrupted our lives, our churches, our economy and our society in new ways never seen by any of us. The other virus is old. The pandemic of racism and abuse of power has surged once again in the death of George Floyd.
His death, like many others, is not just sad, frustrating and tragic. On many levels it is evil, and tragically, it is sparking more evil in many communities.
How can, how should, pastors engage with these cultural issues and bring timely, effective clarity and redeeming hope from God’s word through their preaching? That’s what we hope to help with.
What do we mean by cultural preaching?
The goal of Denison Forum is to develop culture-changing Christians.
By extension, the goal of A Pastor’s View is to develop culture-changing pastors who then develop culture-changing churches.
Culture-changing Christians are those who pursue their highest level of influence and then live faithfully and boldly for Christ in the places of influence the Spirit gives them.
This is what we believe Jesus meant when He called us to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). Preaching is a major tool pastors have for defining and developing culture-changing Christians. Our goal is to intentionally help you along that path this month.
Cultural preaching is not a Sunday morning commentary on headlines blurted out from the 24/7 news cycle. Much of what passes for news these days doesn’t pass the basic criteria for real journalism. If we attempt that as preachers, we’ll be chasing our tails all day long and often revealing our lack of knowledge and expertise in several fields. Preaching is not social commentary. Preachers are not social-political pundits.
We have the high calling and great honor of bringing God’s truth in Christ recorded in Scripture to the issues of our day. Cultural preaching is not the only kind of preaching we do, but it should be a significant component of what we do, week in and week out, year in and year out. Everyone who hears us has a worldview whether they realize it or not, whether they are intentional in how they develop it or not. The local preacher/pastor has the privilege of helping his hearers to see through God’s eyes and to think God’s thoughts.
Our goal is to help pastors and churches exegete Scripture to grasp God’s truth AND to exegete culture to discover where the two intersect. Our hope in doing so is to equip pastors to equip their hearers to apply biblical truth to today’s urgent issues, including large scale issues like pandemics and racism. Ultimately, we hope to more fully inspire and equip pastors, church leaders and Christ followers to bring the light and love of Christ to a broken, dark, hurting and lost world.
This is no easy task in the dynamic world we live in. The Apostle Paul indicated that as he challenged his protégé Timothy in his pastoral and preaching ministry in 1 Timothy 4.
“Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (vv. 11-16).
Wow! If we learn to do this well in the power of the Spirit and under the authority of the Bible and the local church, it will accomplish the ‘saving’ of many lives, including our own. Saving, as in all cases, by the love, grace, mercy and power of Christ.
To that end, we will be offering some ideas and resources for cultural preaching through A Pastor’s View this month. On June 30 our capstone resource will be a 2-hour, online seminar with Dr. Joel Gregory, former pastor and now Preaching Professor at George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Dr. Gregory is considered a prince among preachers in both Anglo and African American churches. In addition to his seminary teaching, he trains preachers around the globe through his ministry called “Proclaimer’s Place.” This is Dr. Gregory’s passionate attempt to bring high quality equipping especially to those who do not have ready access to such resources. You can learn more about Proclaimer’s Place at www.gregoryministries.org. Put June 30th at 2pm on your calendar and be on the lookout for the webinar link in a few weeks.