Should we surf around for preaching?
During the pandemic many believers have been sustained by online preaching. We’re thankful for world-renowned speakers, vast-ranging personalities, and massive choice. As we return to our local church it’s worth reconsidering why God has given us local pastors (Titus 1:5) and why their preaching ministry should be our main diet.
You did not have a say in the calling of many you watch online but most of you were involved in the calling of your local Pastor. When appointed you asked them to shepherd you, teach you, watch over you.
2. Relationship. A local shepherd does not feed and then disappear but is available to help you understand, apply teaching to your life, and pray for you. I know very well the difference between preaching to people you know and those who don’t know you very well. The people you know hear more than a sermon, they know your life! I am humbled how Elaine and my family listen to me attentively being fully aware of the real me.
3. Accountability. The shepherd is accountable to fellow Elders on behalf of the church to not deviate from scripture or our church basis of faith. When online you simply can’t be sure about the teaching you’re receiving.
4. Learning together. When we gather to hear God’s word taught, we are all hearing the same message. We are learning together. This doesn’t means we can’t study or read other things but it means when we ask the question, “what is God saying to our church at this time,” we can refer to the week-by-week teaching.
5. Ownership. We had a spell where our cat was not coming home. We discovered the cat was being amply fed by a well-meaning stranger but the effect was that the cat was disorientated as to where home was. Some Christians don’t know where home is.
I preach online and on radio. The goal is not to replace local preaching but to work in partnership, and with the goal of equipping pastors to feed the churches under their care themselves. If there’s nothing Biblical being taught where you are then do surf around. Otherwise save most of your listening and attention for the local minister God has given you.
Richard Brunton, 01/07/2021