I got in a little debate on the internet about how much you can expect to be “taught” by the preaching in church… I guess I felt strongly enough to share those thoughts with y’all. Most of this is copied, with a couple little edits thrown in for good measure.
If you expect to be “fed” from a sermon that needs to communicate with people across the whole spectrum of knowledge and experience that inhabit a congregation, in my experience, you will forever be disappointed… if not immediately, then eventually… I haven’t found any evidence in the Bible that this is what the worship service is for, and plenty of evidence that it’s for worshiping God and fellowshipping with other worshipers.
I just did the math, and I’ve been a Christ-follower now for longer than Christ was actually on earth!
There is no way that I can continually grow in grace and knowledge and wisdom and love solely from sermons in that time. No way. No matter how often I switch churches under the misbegotten notion that one will feed me more than another.
No. What it means is that at a certain point I, for the most part, stopped reading the popular Christian books and started reading the less popular more scholarly ones that the author cites in his footnotes at the back of the book where nobody goes.
It means, for me, that I actually taught myself to read enough Greek to be able to understand when a preacher is full of beans when he appeals to a unique Greek word or construct in a sermon (in my experience, at least 75% of the time a preacher tells you that there’s hidden meaning in the Greek, he’s reaching).
Most importantly, it meant that, for me spiritual growth stopped getting measured by the junk I just said in those last two ridiculous paragraphs and more by the way I might love God and show that love by loving my neighbor.
And, it meant that I gave up a long time ago on the notion that improving and expanding head-knowledge and becoming theologically and doctrinally educated means squat in the vast scheme of things we don’t actually really understand anyway. (I don’t need another sermon on the trinity… ever… but maybe the guy who is new to the church does…) Intellectual assent to a list of doctrines and knowledge of theological concepts does not equal discipleship. Otherwise, Jesus wouldn’t have called fishermen and laborers and such to start his church.
It means that at a certain point I stopped being fed. I started feeding somebody else, and as for Christ in John 4:34, that work BECAME my food.
As Andy Stanley puts it “We are educated far beyond our obedience.” Amen. I know I am.
Most every time a friend has ever told me he left one church to go to another, the reason was always, frankly, either a bad reason or a smokescreen for the “search for the new” that USAmericans are always on.
In fact, the only times I’ve heard real legitimate reasons for that, it’s because the person moved, or got hired to WORK at a church, or both.
When I hear somebody talk about leaving a church because they aren’t getting fed, especially if it’s a so-called “mature” Christian… I can’t help but to roll my eyes…
I may have lost some friends now… Sorry if I offended anyone. I’m even sorrier if I didn’t offend anyone.