Originally published as two separate articles in Pulpit Helps, August and September 2006.
Expositional preaching has fallen on hard times. In an entertainment-hungry world, and with an increasingly entertainment-hungry Church, it would appear that there is just too much serious stuff in exposition for it to appeal to anyone today. We think it doesn't have the pinpoint "zing" that we can create by delivering "message candy" of hot topics and controversial issues, so pastors are rejecting exposition in growing numbers, it seems.
One state-wide church leader of a major denomination recently shared with me that he could name only three pastors in over 1,000 churches in his state that to his knowledge used exposition on a regular basis. The result, he says, is growth without depth. It means a growing number of people are not being equipped to deal with life, yet are in church week after week.
It means that Christ-followers have little more success than the world in overcoming the challenges of life, because their leaders are doing little more than touching the surface of the truth that sets men free. Believers cannot handle the serious stuff of life, because they aren't hearing the serious stuff of the Scripture. Faith still comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
It is hard to argue with the statistics that demonstrate how little difference there is between the world and the church in America. George Barna's research reveals an alarming trend. When surveying "born-again" Christians, that is those who state that they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and who believe they'd go to heaven when they die because of Christ's death on the cross for them, here are the results:
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