Worldview Preaching & Discipleship
Preaching is an important part of Discipleship in the local Church. What is communicated through the preaching of the Word plays a large part in shaping culture, values, discipleship, worldview and mission. As such, faithful preaching of the Word and expounding of Scriptures are critical and should form a large part of the responsibility of a lead Pastor. It is tempting to spend much time on the programs and administration and skimp on the things that are most important in Gospel ministry. However we must fight against this for the sake of the Gospel.
Perhaps one of the reasons for this imbalance at times is our propensity toward instant results. In the work of administration or big events, the instant “success” is tangible and visible for all to see, whereas the work of Gospel ministry is slow and mostly done behind the scenes. It takes ongoing time and discipline to share the Word together, disciple one another, invest in people and allow His Word and Spirit to change our lives.
One of the most helpful ministry books I have read is the Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. The premise of the book is that a vine, in order to grow strongly, needs to be well supported by a trellis. However, the whole purpose is not the trellis, but rather the vine. Many Churches end up pouring all the energy into the trellis (meetings, events, administration) and focus very little on the Gospel or vine work of discipleship and evangelism. While I am not downplaying the importance of the trellis, I am proposing that the vine work is of premier importance and when the trelliswork is not leading to Gospel discipleship we must re-evaluate. This of course, is of great importance when it comes to Church planting. The temptation is to mimic what other Churches are doing, rather than keeping Jesus, and therefore following Him (discipleship) as the key thing, deliberately working towards things that will serve that end gain.
Discipleship at its simplest form is following Jesus and this is where preaching is of great importance. At a recent conference I heard a message about preaching which I found to be very valuable. The person sharing was talking about the difference between a good and great Gospel communicator. He explained that good Gospel preachers expound scripture with good background, context and theology, however the great preachers evaluate and critique societal worldviews using a Biblical worldview as its analyzer. In other words we preach with a clear understanding of how people view the world. The purpose of Biblical preaching is to wrestle both with scripture and culture and then to allow the thought world of scripture to critique the thought world of culture with the aim of deconstructing that viewpoint and then reconstructing that worldview by a Biblical worldview. We need to bring people into a Biblical context, rather than bring the Bible into our context, which requires the hard work of understanding people’s position rather than telling them simply why they’re wrong. In this way our preaching will challenge not only our heads, but more importantly our hearts as we are transformed in our daily lives by His Word and Spirit.
If you are a Christian, I would hope and pray that you are constantly observing culture around you, but instead of conforming to the culture you are surrounded by, that you are being transformed by the truth of God’s Word. In an age of political correctness we need to fully grasp that the Gospel will be offensive at times and that our view will always be at odds with the popular worldview in many aspects. As we present this incredibly good news to our friends, neighbours, work colleagues and family we trust that God will do the work of transforming hearts and lives to see the world from His point of view.