Daniel Darling, author, pastor, speaker / Posts tagged "teaching"

Can We Build the Church By Being Against the Church?

It's hard to read a Christian book or blog post or to hear a sermon without hearing some overt or implied criticism of some part of the evangelical Church as a whole. That's not even counting the Twitter feeds of Christians. I'm reading a terrific book right on the centrality of the gospel by one of my favorite author/preacher/bloggers. It's a book that is both challenging me and inspiring me. But even this favorite author can't resist the easy stereotype of "most churches" or "most Christians" or "The Church is . . . ." It seems nearly impossible for us to build up our ministries without having to use another expression of Christian ministry as a foil. I know this because I do this myself. In my forthcoming book, I spend a considerable time pushing back against the pressure to be perfect among 2nd Generation kids. I felt (and still feel) it was a legitimate...

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Ed Stetzer – How Should We Talk About Sex?

I wanted to write a post about this, but couldn't find the words. Thankfully Ed Stetzer, a wiser man than me by far, wrote what I consider a terrific and wise post on how evangelicals might approach the delicate, but necessary subject of sex. I especially liked this paragraph: Third, when talking about sex, hype does not help.  I have to say that some of the gimmicky sex campaigns are simply unhelpful and can many times be harmful. For example, a friend of mine did a series he called "Storybook Sex" with all the shocking ads and comments-- a series he now regrets. At the end of the day, gimmicks are not what we need-- solid biblical teaching and moral courage is.  That does not mean we cannot have fun while talking about sex (thank you, God, for creating sex!), but, in talking about sex, it does mean that we need...

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Are Pre-Packaged Sermon Series a Good Idea for Pastors?

Pastoring in this age is a great blessing, because of the volume and variety of resources at our disposal. I have hundreds of books and commentaries on my computer thanks to Wordsearch software. Then I have a library full of books and a number of key websites I visit. That’s not to mention the study Bibles I own. You can be a marginally intelligent guy like me and still craft a good sermon.

One of the resources that I find most helpful are downloadable sermons. Several ministries offer these, including Preaching Today from Christianity Today, Sermon Central, and Rick Warren’s Pastors.com. Personally I enjoy Preaching Today and then I use Ray Pritchard’s Keep Believing website to read his sermons and I frequent the archive of Ray Stedman, the late, great expository preacher. I also podcast several prominent pastors, first to feed my own soul and second to learn about the great texts of Scripture from great expositors.

Here’s the thing, though. I read and listen to these sermons as commentaries, to get ideas of how to structure and shape a sermon on a particular text and to get another man’s “take” on a particularly difficult passage. But I think it’s a miscarriage of my duty if I simply preached someone else’s sermon. I think most pastors would agree to this.

Which brings me to the idea of pre-packaged sermon kits. I’m seeing more and more of this from some more prominent pastors. Two examples that come to mind are Andy Stanley from Northpoint Church in Atlanta and Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill in Seattle. Both are terrific pastors whom God has blessed with great ministry.

What these guys (and other prominent pastors) are offering are complete reproducible and preachable  sermon series. They come complete with slick graphics, which include printable art work for posters, handouts, banners, etc. They are quite nice. But my question is this. Should a pastor of a local church, who has been called and ordained by God and chosen by the congregation to lead, should he preach the work of someone else on Sunday?

This is tricky question. On the one hand, all preachers’ work is the product of others. The old joke says that if you preach someone else’s sermon, it’s plagiarism. If you quote more than one preacher, it’s study. Our preaching is built upon the wise men who have gone before.

But that sermon should still be the product of our own study, right? I’m having a hard time imagining me doing a series at Gages Lake and saying, “Okay, we’re going to preach Andy Stanley’s “Guardrails” series this month.” The people might wonder, “Why are we paying him?” And isn’t it my job to study the Word and preach what God has specifically laid out for those particular people in that audience?