Worship, Preaching and Teaching… a quest to be heard.

Devotional Thought/Discussion Thought of the Day:

 6  Dear brothers and sisters, if I should come to you speaking in an unknown language, how would that help you? But if I bring you a revelation or some special knowledge or prophecy or teaching, that will be helpful. 7  Even lifeless instruments like the flute or the harp must play the notes clearly, or no one will recognize the melody. 8  And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle? 9  It’s the same for you. If you speak to people in words they don’t understand, how will they know what you are saying? You might as well be talking into empty space. 10  There are many different languages in the world, and every language has meaning. 11  But if I don’t understand a language, I will be a foreigner to someone who speaks it, and the one who speaks it will be a foreigner to me. 12  And the same is true for you. Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church.        1 Corinthians 14:6-12 (NLT)

You don’t get through to people because you speak a different “language”. I advise you to be natural. It’s all due to that artificial formation of yours!  (1)

For ceremonies are needed to this end alone that the unlearned be taught [what they need to know of Christ]. (2)

As I look at the words of St. Paul, of St. Josemaria Escriva, of Phillip Melancthon (and the early Lutherans) above, I see something that is often overlooked in our worship planning, whether we favor complex liturgy, a simplified liturgy, or contemporary or emergent, multi-tasking worship.

Do we ask what are we communicating,

I am not just talking language, though I believe that is a critical component.  I really struggle personally when our translations are not in common language, but collegiate language, or “church language”.   Or when we try to be so relevant to the fringe that we confuse the rest.   It also includes body language, and tone (or drone) of voice.  Worship, Preaching, Teaching, our practice and our theology are all parts of who we are, indivisible, and necessary.

Do we regularly review not just what we do in worship, but how we do it?  Do people walk away with the message – and how critical it is to know God’s presence, His promises, His mercy and His love?  Do we try to minimize our people having that message obscured?  Does our communication instill in them how valuable the Lord’s Supper is, or how incredible it is to know and hear our sins are forgiven?  Or do we, in reviewing our work, spend so much time fine tuning the performance to meet a standard that is not natural?  Does our worship, preaching and liturgy take on the same personna that our pastoral care does – or are we split personalities?  Dt the Preacher/Liturgist and Dt the pastor?   Does how we are formed present two different images, confusing images at that?  Knowing how people see us Monday through Saturday also affects how they hear us on Sunday.  Who we are, and how we interact with them affects how they hear the message.  DO we consider that?  Do we review how we are seen, regularly?

Being natural in our facilitating worship, in our preaching and teaching is something that is difficult, it leaves us often vulnerable, easy targets for those who would judge us.   But it is us that God wants to communicate through.  That He wants to use to demonstrate the effect of His presence and love.

But this isn’t about just pastors and worship leaders..

My brothers and sisters, whether you are the one at the microphone, or sitting in the back, you are facilitating the worship around you.  When you are listening to the readings, to the sermon, interacting in a Bible Study… you are teaching people as well.  You are communicating values, and being a model for others, teaching them about the value of God’s love, His grace, and how important it is… how much you actually care about those around you preaches as well.  (and don’t forget how you interact with visitors!)

A few summary challenges
1.  Use language you use daily
2.  Don’t act differently than you do normally
3.  Still keep in mind that everything about you affects your preaching – whether you are the pastor or not..

4.  The absolute best way to do this… is to realize something we say all the time… and live according….. here is the phrase,…. “the Lord is with you”

Raphael, St Paul Preaching in Athens

Raphael, St Paul Preaching in Athens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1054-1057). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

(2)  Augsberg Confession, The, Article XXIV

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on August 29, 2013, in Devotions. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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