As I sit at the computer on a winter day — the snow piling higher by the moment — and dream of spring, several things come to mind:
– Each issue of Preaching is designed to bring you a variety of approaches and insights, but this issue may contain more variety than most.
For example, two of our feature stories contain very different perspectives on the notion of a “seeker service” (a term for worship services designed to appeal to and be readily understood by non-believers). Hal Poe, in an article on creativity in preaching, offers some suggestions for presenting an invitation within the seeker service setting.
On the other hand, theologian-preacher R. C. Sproul (our interview subject this issue) considers the whole concept of a “seeker” service little short of heresy. Worship is for the family of believers, he observes, and must not be watered down in order to “market” the church to non-believers. It’s an issue now being debated by pastors and church leaders, and one that is creating more than a little friction as many traditional churches see young and middle-aged families abandon liturgy for choruses projected on overhead screens.
And speaking of watered-down faith, the book featured in this issue’s The Preacher’s Bookshelf offers a remarkable analysis of the way in which many preachers have unwittingly absorbed the views of a secular, therapeutic culture, and substituted these for the historic positions of biblical faith. Of course, when we live in a culture in which objective truth has been cast out and all truth is personal and private — and when the church has opted for that position — nothing should be very surprising.
– I recently attended a conference during which we were taken to the circus one night. I hadn’t been to a circus since junior high school days, and it was quite a treat (and an olfactory experience) to again witness “the greatest show on earth.”
As I sat through the show, however, I couldn’t help but relate its many activities to what I know of church life. I was particularly taken with the crews who constantly moved props and pulled wires as they got things ready for the next performer. The acrobats and animal trainers got the applause but their performances would have been impossible without the quiet labors of their crews. I’m glad the churches I’ve served have been blessed with folks like that — folks who are willing to do what it takes even though they rarely hear the applause. I suspect they will be hearing their applause one day.
– I’m really looking forward to spring. If it wasn’t for the harshness of winter, I don’t suppose spring would have as much meaning, but the winter-spring contrast makes the arrival of a new season all the more pleasant.
So it is that the bitterness of Good Friday makes the remarkable turn of events on Easter morning all the more precious.
What a privilege to be called by God to proclaim that amazing event.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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