[These are notes from the Q&A Panel on Day 2 of the Preach The Word 2013 Acts 29 West Regional Conference in Reno, NV]
Participants: Harvey Turner, Tony Merida, Alex Early, Justin Anderson and Leonce Crump
[[Psalm 16 reading]]
How much time do you spend preparing and critiquing your sermon?
-Leonce Crump: prep (4-5 hrs) critique (1-1.5 hrs)
-Justin Anderson: pre-series a lot of time fleshing out themes // in-week (10 hrs) critique (occasionally a couple hrs; most of the time 20-30 mins)
-Tony Merida: 10-15 hrs prep but you never stop preparing “it took me 36 years to prepare this sermon” (everything is shaping you)
-Harvey Turner: 10-15 hrs (including prayer time)
Everyone has their flaws, what red-flags would show that we can’t trust the leader(ship) anymore?
-Justin Anderson: The moment a staff member is asking that question.
-Alex Early: Go to the big issues: for men those tend to be–with a drastic majority–inappropriate stewardship of: money or women
-Leonce Crump: When they stop practicing repentance
-Harvey Turner: Sometimes the problem is not your pastor (just be honest and mindful FROM SCRIPTURE with that)
What if you’re called to preach but your church doesn’t seem to share that belief that you were called to do so? What do you do?
-Justin Anderson: anyone can talk out loud about Jesus and the bible; that’s not preaching. People need to listen and confirm that (it WILL be confirmed)
Being convinced you were supposed to do something and hearing otherwise is a tough pill to swallow, but it happens.
-Harvey Turner: If God is really telling you, He will confirm that with the church (your leaders, peers, etc.)
Acts 13 – “it seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit”
-Leonce Crump: If you put yourself in any untrustworthy situations you may sometimes need to seek outside counsel (but don’t jump around for that immediately; don’t be rebellious, etc.)
-Tony Merida: In the Hebrew Bible Ezra and Nehemiah are the same book. Nehemiah is the administrative, priestly guy and Ezra is the bible guy (they know their roles and know when to step aside to let the other do what they do)
“The church is dying for the Paul Tripp counseling types. We need more of those.”
Have you ever thought “I can’t do what that preacher does?” What do you do with that?
-Tony Merida: God has called to give an account to your life, not theirs.
-Alex Early: I’ve absolutely felt this… But I need to remember it’s unhealthy and dangerous/distracting
There will always be someone 10x better but it shouldn’t be competed against but celebrated. Celebrate it when someone is flourishing in the gift God called Him.
Leonce Crump: The time it becomes sin is when you get mad at God that your aren’t like them (you can admire, but don’t covet)
-Harvey Turner: There are varying levels of influence/favor (from Driscoll): there are church-focused, regional, national, and international leaders // know which you are
Many passages have multiple ideas–how can we be faithful to the passage without imposing a single idea on the passage (risking minimizing the text)?
-Tony Merida: The more ideas the more general the theme (but likely still one common theme constantly)
What resources would you point to for preaching Christ in the Old Testament?
-“Preaching Christ from the Old Testament” (book)
-“Preaching the whole bible as Christian scripture” (book)
-Tim Keller series “preaching Christ in a postmodern world” (RTS App and iTunes)
-“Preaching and Biblical Theology” (Clowney; Book)
What things in Acts 29 churches hinder evangelism in our church culture?
-Alex Early: We get overly concerned in theologically nit-picking that we miss the point about being missional
“Sometimes, you have to loosen up a bit”
We get so caught up about being doctrinally solid in every respect and may be faithful but aren’t being fruitful
Some would rather argue about penal substitutionary atonement rather than talk to their barber to see if he knows Jesus
-Justin Anderson: We think we’re too cool for our own good (and we’re likely too young)
Because of our desire to be cool and because of our age, we tend to more likely reach young, specific types, and narrow our demographic
-Leonce Crump: we have a very particular type of person reached: white, plaid, angry, and precise.
Almost every church (in Acts 29) feels the same.
This is a hindrance (we need to figure out how to avoid that and be faithful to the context you’re in)
Don’t try to be the black guy.. But be faithful to your community. It goes back to “Who is your neighbor?”
Are there women or moms in your archetype prep (regarding session six)?
-Justin Anderson: there are many moms who are smart skeptics and many moms who are “disciples”.. But also I need to own [my lack of accounting for women in the model]. We [at Acts 29] are intentional about men but are also a little overly focused on them (and can miss it at times).
-Harvey Turner: Luther parallels men who lead churches to a drunken man on a donkey. We fall off one side, get back up rightly, and fall off the other side (it’s a constant rebounding/redirecting)
How do you preach against prosperity gospel but still assure the people and yourself of God’s promises?
-Leonce Crump: In myself I am a worm. In Jesus I am not a worm but a son.
As a critique of our movement: “I don’t know when our sin became bigger than our Savior” (we tend to spend so much time magnifying sin and, in doing so, miss magnifying our Savior)
“I don’t waste my time preaching against the prosperity gospel, I preach the fullness of the riches in Christ” you know you messed up, but Jesus (standing between you and it) declares you holy and righteous and blameless.
On the other end of the spectrum we need to be mindful not to preach our sin so much that our savior looks small.
How, specifically, would you break down a small chunk of scripture?
-Tony Merida: Study the text, unify the theme, creat a rough outline, add some meat to it (illustrating, applications, etc), then pray for God to bring the rain.
-Alex Early: Every word has a semantic range (make sure if you examine “propitiation” in context of that particular passage; ie Romans 3 v 1 John 2) — be mindful of it to not universally apply.
You critique not catering to those from other churches, but there are people who come from moralistic churches who aren’t hearing the gospel preached. Isn’t loving them doing the work of an evangelist?
-Harvey Turner: As a general rule, we are too quick to assume that other pastors are not preaching the Gospel. Quick to stroke our own egos (“we’re doing it right, they aren’t”)
Pastors will also use this as justification to not reach the lost (won’t say it but that’s what they’re doing
-Justin Anderson: An easy way to differentiate these situations are to have relationships with pastors around you. (“No guy is too busy to not have lunch with you in the next month”)
How can you get out of JUST discipling and get into evangelizing also?
-Harvey Turner: Discipleship is fundamentally evangelistic (“fishers of men”). All discipleship must be done in view of our mission (not meant to only hang with Christians)
Always look at “how is this (CG, gathering, etc) going to lead us towards mission/evangelism?”
-Leonce Crump: John 6 (eat my flesh and drink my blood) emphasizes that discipleship is related to community and relationships (some follow that aren’t Christians)
We lead them to Jesus and His cross then continue leading them to Jesus afterwards (some turn away, some continue following because he has the words of life).
How many people can you pour into/disciple? How do you stay deep and wide?
-Justin Anderson: Putting butts in the seats is the easy part (not much time, commitment, etc). Discipleship and leadership development is the hard stuff (so we are focusing on the hard stuff and let the easier stuff just happen)
“If you’re doing discipleship and it’s not working itself out in evangelism, you aren’t doing discipleship”
It’s not realistic to expect a deep conversation when it’s a group of 15-20 people
For most “normal” people the number of people they can legitimately “pour into” is 1-2 (for his staff and himself it’s 50% of their time)
“I’d rather start hard on the hard stuff and swing it back a bit than the other way”
-Tony Merida: Timmis says “the church is not a building you visit or an event you go to but a people you belong to” (may be slightly off on the quote)
If we don’t make it a priority (with specifics) it won’t happen.