Many would say you cannot, but my friend Mez McConnell would disagree. In the first of what we hope to be many self-published Practical Shepherding articles, Mez speaks to this issue of preaching expositional sermons in poor areas. I suggest you listen. Mez has spent the last decade planting and pastoring a thriving local church in one of the poorest areas in Scotland. His cutting edge strategy? Rigorous, systematic, expositional preaching through God’s Word applied to the hearts of those people:
There is an increasing argument (in some circles) that the so-called ‘moderns’ of the last century responded well to more ‘concrete’ biblical messages (on passages like the Epistles, for instance). Whereas, the postmodern mindset responds far better to the story telling approach to biblical preaching. Further, there is the thought that people in housing schemes can’t listen to a message more than 10 minutes long unless accompanied with some video footage and an all singing, all dancing power point presentation. We live in a ‘visual age‘ after all, or so I’m told. Well, I hardly use video, power point a bit more perhaps, and even then it looks like I put it together with the help of my neighbour’s cat. I just use the Bible and words. I just believe what I preach and try to illustrate and apply it in everyday language. I do it systematically and, in the main, expositionally. Do you know what? People stay in and listen. People you wouldn’t believe stay in and even take some of the message on board.
Now, expository preaching gets a bad rap from many people (not all) who like to debate the merits of social justice and mercy ministries. They think it is too one-dimensional and an irrelevance in a non reading culture such as ours. All the talking heads and experts say so. They think that poorer people listen better when we ‘story’ the Bible and that we shouldn’t have just one approach from the pulpit. We shouldn’t even have a pulpit! Instead, we should mix it up and have more dialogue. Certainly, when we look at the NT we find little evidence for a set pattern of preaching. Indeed, the whole idea of the NT ‘pulpit monologue’ has scant evidence full stop. The Bible is also full of wonderful ‘true’ stories (I tell my girls the difference between a Bible story and Cinderella – one is made up for our entertainment and the other is true and has been written for our spiritual benefit). So, should we be teaching our people more biblical narrative and maybe having a more interactive approach from the pulpit in our housing schemes and council estates? In a word, no. Here’s why…
Read the full article here..