Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Preaching, Teaching, Passing Along Truth; or changing lives?

I have had a great time in the past month. The international church here in Cochabamba is a church that has a very specific target audience. They are seeking to minister to and reach the English speaking community of Cochabamba. Because of this, they have their services in English. The man that usually does the Sunday morning teaching is in the States for a few months, so they asked me if I could fill in and preach for six weeks.

It has been a blast! Preaching in English is so fun. I love it. I have also received several great compliments, the main one is that the children like my preaching because of my illustrations and stories that make the Bible come alive.

I love hearing that, and I hate hearing that. I love it because it makes me feel good and encourages me. I think that I am doing a good job. I hate hearing it because of what it is NOT saying. By saying that I make the Bible come alive, the implication is that: The Bible isn’t alive; or, other preachers kill the living Bible.

The first one is simply not true. The Bible is alive! It is the living and active word of God. It is exciting, emotional, and dynamic. It is the inspired, inerrant and eternal Word.

The second thing….well I believe that it is a fact. Most of us preachers simply take the vibrant word of God and make it into one of those old sixth grade film strips…change the picture when you hear the beep. BORING. The Bible is not boring, but we make it seem like it.

I have several preachers that read this blog. Listen to me please. Your job is not to ‘preach’. It is not to ‘pass along truth’. It is to teach and preach the truth in a way that the person hearing it: wants to listen, can understand it, and knows what to do with it. We are to teach God’s word, not so that people can receive more information, but so that we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit in life transformation.
The same is true in our family devotions, personal and group Bible studies, and every situation in which we open the Word. Apply it! Live It! Love it!


Tyler said...

Joe, you have a wonderful gift of communication. I'm sure that's something you've developed over the years, although maybe you were simply born with it. I find it so frustrating trying to be creative and show how interesting the Bible is to the class I teach. Every week I find myself drawing a blank, and seeing the kids just stare back at me. What do you do to become a better teacher?

Joe Holman said...


I am going to send you an email also, but here are some hints. What I actually do is listen to great teachers on podcasts (right now I have 50 to listen to), I read books on the subject, and I brainstorm. I constantly ask myself: How can I illustrate this using something from life, or a volunteer in the service.

This week I am going to chain someone to 10 chairs to show how unforgiveness binds us to the past, and also do what I did at Sandy Cove to show how we have to look forward.

In Jesus,