1 Corinthians 1:21
Why do people sit in rows and listen to a guy ramble on for forty-five minutes about some obscure passages in a dusty old irrelevant book? And why do they do this at least once, sometimes twice a week for most of their lives?
If you're a young person made to go to church by your parents, that's probably the question you're asking and wondering. I wondered myself, as a young man who was part of a church since the day I entered the world.
I actually still ask myself that question from time to time, but I do it from the other perspective. I'm now that pastor standing up on Sunday, opening that book and sharing for forty-five minutes. And I wonder if my feeble efforts at preaching do any good.
But the Bible says that there is something mysterious about preaching. Paul said that God, in his great wisdom, designed "the foolishness of preaching" to communicate His message to the world. In other words, this method which seems sort of outdated and unsophisticated is the way God builds His Church.
Why should every believer listen to good preaching? It's not because of the preacher, but because of the power of the Word. God takes the living Word of God in the hands of a flawed pastor and uses that moment to communicate living truth to His people. The pastor is simply the instrument. Sure, a good pastor studies, works hard on communication, tries to engage the audience. Of course.
But ultimately God takes His Word and implants it in the heart of his people through simple preachers. As a young person I didn't quite understand this, but I knew that every time I heard a Bible message on Sunday or Wednesday or at a conference or camp or on the radio—something was happening.
God used the preaching of the word in my young teen years to powerfully direct my life. I'm grateful for gospel-centered preaching my whole life.
And today, even though I'm the one delivering the messages, I still depend on good preaching. My iPhone is filled with podcasts from some of the best preachers in the country. I use my drive time to listen to them.
I've found that during those stretches when I slack off, when I flip on sports radio or talk radio instead of preaching, I find my walk with God really suffers and my relationships go south. But when I'm regularly being convicted by God's Word spoken through God's men, I'm more in tune with God Himself.
I can't explain fully why God chose to use simple men. He could have written everything in the sky, sent gifted angels, or chose some other way. Instead, God chose and continues to choose redeemed sinners sharing powerful truths of the Word.
I encourage you. If you're a young person tired of sitting in church, maybe this week, sit up a little straighter, open up your Bible, and personalize that sermon. Insetad of focusing on the pastor's facial tics or speech deficiencies, focus on the words and ask the Spirit to apply them to your soul.
Do that and you just might find that preaching, this mysterious method of God's, might change your life.
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at twitter.com/dandarling, or check out his website: danieldarling.com.