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Shallow Preaching= Shallow People

May 26, 2010

Question: Do people need to be inspired by cool stories, or do people need to know Biblical truth?

Now let me beat you to what some are already saying in your head… some are going to say that both are the answer.

And I am going to say that is wrong.

Shallow preaching will almost certainly lead to shallow Christians. And inspirational preaching will eventually let people down when reality hits.

People need to be taught Biblical truth in a way that does not water down the word of God. This means that when we preach we should not “reach for a meaning of a scripture” or “proof text.”

There are too many dangers to name when we preach without depth. But with that said, one of the biggest concerns I have for my own life is that I never fall into the trap of shallow preaching to my students. Actually when I write that, it sounds funny, but its true, its very possible and many youth pastors do it. Students don’t need to be inspired by your stories that you looked up on Google, they need to be inspired by the Word and how it has changed your life.


Tomorrow I will write about how we need to get our vocabulary right, because it actually reflects what you believe. Stay tuned!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2010 11:13 am

    There is a book called, “Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers” that goes into depth on this topic exactly. I like to post messages from the more “fire and brimstone” preachers once in a while on my blog because when you listen to them, it is about what the Word says and the realities of our choices. A friend of mine accused me of pushing the law on people and I said maybe he was just convicted of a good a message.
    I think stories have value to humanize pastors but when every week the same message consists of story first, a couple of scriptures and why Jesus will make everything better; well that is no better than watching Dr. Phil to me.
    Peter got up to preach and in the midst of his prophetic teaching, the Word was spoken and it cut people’s heart and awakened them to Jesus. Moody, Ravenhill, Tozier, all of these great men of the faith would preach over an hour with scripture layered massively throughout. People were changed and yet we can only fit a couple into our half an hour sermons.
    Anyway, good thoughts, I think I wrote more than your entire blog post but this is a serious topic for the church today.

  2. May 26, 2010 11:20 am

    While I agree with you in principle, I do think within our narrative culture, people need to see how the Gospel story is transforming lives. That is best shared through story and relationship with the story.

    Nonetheless, I think it is Driscoll who says “soft words create hard people, and hard words create soft people.” Which goes right along with what you are saying.

    • Benjamin Davis permalink*
      May 26, 2010 11:28 am

      Tyler I agree 100% that we need to share the Gospel in relationship and in story.

      Funny how quickly a lot of people get away from the best story of all.

    • May 26, 2010 11:30 am

      Hey, I don’t quite get the Driscoll quote. It seems like the opposite of “a soft answer…” verse.

      • May 26, 2010 6:51 pm

        I think the quote is basically saying that without strong teaching and exhortation, people become soft (in a bad way). Strong teaching and exhortation produces soft people (compassionate, loving, passion for the gospel).

  3. May 26, 2010 11:28 am


  4. May 27, 2010 2:19 pm

    why can’t you have solid truth and cool illustrations double bonus. It doesn’t have to be one or the other….stephy maybe you don’t get the driscoll quote bc ur a woman he doesn’t preach to women he preaches to the men only club…(lame)

    • Benjamin Davis permalink*
      May 27, 2010 5:41 pm

      haha AL stop hatin’ btw I am all for cool illustrations, I would call that contextualizing the Gospel. It just pains me to see more emphasis on “cool stories from google.”

      You know what I am saying?

  5. May 27, 2010 2:26 pm

    Haha! You’re right about that. He does preach to women though when he tells them to be hotter.

  6. May 27, 2010 6:16 pm

    ha ha stephy you are awesome! Big Ben I feel you bud… In the words of my wifes grandfather….”do you want to be a voice or an echo?”

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