Many of the nearly 350,000 pulpits in America are filled with false teachers. From doomsday prophets and prosperity hucksters to cult leaders and faith healers, there are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
If we didn’t have family and friends caught in their deceptions; and if the way of truth wasn’t being maligned; and if false teachers weren’t destroying our society – then maybe we could just ignore them.
But the danger is real and we must “contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all” (Jude 1:3b). We simply cannot allow dangerous doctrines and hazardous heresies to go unchallenged.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has given us a lot of guidance on how to spot false teachers. 2 Peter 2 describes false teachers, as does the parallel descriptions in the book of Jude. Many of the Old Testament prophets talk about false teachers and prophets.
On average, it takes 50 church members a year to lead one person to Jesus.
Thom Rainer suggests that an evangelistically healthy “church conversion ratio” (CCR) is about 20:1 (that is, 20 church members leading one person to Jesus per year).
Less than 5% of churches in the U.S. hit this particular target.
But is it possible to move closer to, say, a 3:1 church conversion ratio? Or (and this is really going to blow your mind), what about a 1:3 church conversion ratio?
Imagine every member in your church making at least one disciple each year!
What would it take to get there?
You may not know Kenneth Byrum.
Kenneth Byrum was an ordained United Methodist minister and missionary for nearly 60 years. He served in Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas. As a skilled brick mason, he did major renovations and new building projects at almost every appointment where he served. He was survived by his wife, Lois, 4 married daughters and 4 sons-in-law, 8 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren.
I am grandchild number three and on January 8th, I had the privilege of preaching at my Grandpa’s memorial service.
In this post, I want to share two remembrances that were shared at that memorial service: The Last Visit (written by my Mom), and This One Thing Remains (written by me).
“I Hope the Resurrection is True”
by Nathan Creitz
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This post is part of The Disciple Making Preacher series. This series attempts to answer those who are against preaching and to propose that preaching is an irreplaceable means of disciple making in the church today.
The prophets of doom in today’s Church are confidently predicting that the day of preaching is over. It is a dying art, they say, an outmoded form of communication, ‘an echo from an abandoned past’. John Stott
Modern forms of communication have had a profound effect on preaching, preachers, and parishioners today.
Some preachers have shortened their messages to cater to the dwindling attention spans of their people. Others have supplemented their sermons with video clips and other visual aids in preaching.
But perhaps worst of all, there are those who have decided that preaching is completely outdated and must be replaced altogether. While supplementing a sermon with video or drama on occasion is not inherently bad, supplanting the sermon completely is a big problem.
A Media-Saturated Problem
The average American watches nearly 5 hours of video each day on TV’s, phones, and computers according to the latest Nielsen Cross-Platform Report.
The average YouTube video is 2 to 3 minutes. Most hour long TV shows might have 6 or 7 commercial breaks.
Hollywood movies have even found a mathematical formula that lets them match the effects of their shots to the attention spans of their audiences.
Preaching is under attack.
Many have already abandoned preaching for newer, more trendy methods. Others have decided that Jesus and the apostles never preached the way we preach today. Still others have problems with authority. Finally, there are some who simply have never heard a good sermon or have never delivered one themselves and have concluded that sermons are ineffective in the church.
Some have not only abandoned preaching but have made it their mission to preach an anti-preaching message. They constantly oppose the straw man preacher who hides behind a pulpit and delivers a boring 30 minute monologue to a disinterested congregation.
This assault on preaching leads us to carefully consider the following questions:
What is the goal of preaching?”
“Is preaching still a helpful means of making disciples?”
“What are the features of a disciple making sermon?”
“How do we respond to those who have abandoned preaching?”