Consumer Climate

“What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).
We have heard of “user-friendly” technology. Should we develop “user friendly” sermons? There are those who would reduce the sermon to a five minute thought for the day. In an age of television, has preaching become redundant? I agree that some sermons, badly studied or unbiblically based, may seem irrelevant. But I fear that we want to do away with preaching for the oldest reason in the world: we don’t want to be told what to do!
“Unchurched” people in the community are not customers choosing between boutiques in a mall. The “unchurched” are lost. In a religious climate driven by consumer demand, “customers” dictate the substance of preaching and churches occupy themselves with meeting the demands of their clientele.
We have a higher calling than that. We do not seek merely to please the customer, but to please the Creator. He has expectations that must be met; worship must primarily be pleasing in his eyes. We cannot let the least spiritual person in a church building run the agenda. We do not seek to “dumb down” to their level; we seek to draw all of us up to a higher level, to an understanding of God’s ways. God’s demands cannot be tamed, diluted, or sugar-coated.
Sometimes we need to hear of our needs; other times there are things that we need to hear, uncomfortable things, things from which we must repent. Preaching is to “comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable.” Most of all, the preacher must know whom he represents. He speaks for an incomparable God, and he calls those who hear to live up to his high calling.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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