Recently I had a conversation with someone that I thought would make a good blog post. I have not made a blog post in a while, so I thought this question would be a great opportunity to “blow the dust” off of the blog and make a post.
Redemption Church is a brand new, start from scratch church in Belvidere, Il. As a new church, people tend to ask me all kinds of different questions about the church. Recently I was asked the question: What is the preaching style like at Redemption Church?
That is a great question, I would like to attempt to answer that here on the blog. I am a pretty strait forward guy, so I will lay all my cards on the table. Usually when someone asks that question, they are really asking you to pick one style or approach to preaching.
At Redemption Church we are on a mission to introduce people into a growing relationships with Jesus. So we want to use all the tools we can to see people take step after step on their spiritual journey with Christ.
So at Redemption Church, we do not have one approach to preaching, we have at least four.
Ed Stetzer, the Vice President of LifeWay wrote a helpful article called, “Four Kinds of Expository Preaching“. In the article he highlights what he considers to be the top four most common types of expository preaching. I will use his definitions in summary, the full article is worth the read, and briefly describe how we use these preaching methods on a Sunday.
- Verse-by-verse preaching: This is systematic, verse by verse reading and explanation of the scriptures. One of the ways we do this at Redemption Church is in what we call book studies. We have gone through books of the Bible like Daniel, Jonah, and later this year will be spending about 16 weeks on the book of Acts. I really enjoy verse by verse expository preaching and often listen to Pastors like Matt Chandler, Timothy Keller, Darrin Patrick, Jon Piper, James MacDonald, and Mark Driscoll.
- Thematic Expository Preaching: Stetzer describes this as, “Thematic expository preaching generally appears in a sermon series over several weeks and introduces many Scriptures focused on the same theme. Thematic messages may include as many as 10 or 12 Scripture passages in each sermon. Since the Bible tends to provide teachings on themes dispersed through different books, this form of preaching is a good way to preach the “whole counsel of God.” This method also introduces new believers or unschooled unbelievers to general themes and patterns that appear throughout the Bible.” We do this quite a bit at Redemption Church, for instance our current series, “The N Commandments”, is all about the commandments Jesus gave his followers not to do. So for the last 5 weeks we have looked at the commands Jesus gave to his followers to fear not, sin not, worry not, judge not, and doubt not. Some of my favorite thematic preaching pastors are Andy Stanley and Perry Noble.
- Narrative Expository Preaching: Narrative preaching presents the biblical text in the form of story and follows that story to completion. A narrative sermon functions as a lengthy illustration that uses a biblical text as its beginning and end. We do this from time to time at Redemption Church. In face the message “Sin Not”, in the N Commandments series was a narrative. Jesus was a great story teller, just look at the parables. People love a good story, Jesus told stories, and we should too!
- Topical Expository Preaching:Topical exposition generally revolves around one passage, centering on one theme. It is topical because it is usually a single message on a single subject. It is expository because it uses the biblical text as its source. We use topical expository preaching at Redemption Church, because we want to answer questions people are asking, and point them to Jesus through the reading, preaching, and teaching of the scriptures. In fact this Valentine’s Day, we are launching a brand new series called, “You.Me.We.” which is a three week series on marriage and relationships. So the way we approach this is twofold. From time to time, we might pick a topic that we think is important, really relevant, or a question people are already asking. Once we have a topic, in this case marriage, we then ask the question; what does the scripture say about this topic.
I love the scriptures, and I have a passion for both preaching and teaching. I think each person who teaches and/or preaches should discover their own voice, find the best style that fits their personality, and should work hard to to preach the Word of God, to declare the good news of the Gospel, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in a way that makes sense to the people you are speaking to.
Next week I will get a little more personal and post, “questions I ask myself before I preach a sermon”.