Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ockenga Lectures

Next week I shall be at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, near Boston, giving six lectures. Four of them fall within a day's Pastors' Forum (on Tuesday), with the other two occurring during the morning chapel periods (on Wednesday and Thursday).

I have committed to speak on "Closing the Gap between Preaching and Worship." Occasionally, past blogs have referred to this gnawing concern of mine - that preaching and worship seem to operate in separate boxes in many contemporary churches. This separation is aided and abetted by definitions of worship that limit it to music or worship services. Actually, a full understanding of worship as embracing all that we are and have for all of God changes everything! Instead of separate boxes language, I see preaching as one (yes, vital and important but only one) dimension of worship itself.

My journey with preaching as worship has taken several years so far, but I am hoping that exposure to this august crowd will sharpen up my thinking. I shall hope to keep readers informed about some of the outcomes in future blogs. Perhaps you agree preaching and worship shouldn't be in separate boxes yourself? Please, let me know.


Anonymous said...

On the contemporary scene, the topics of worship and preaching have become seperated due to our misdirected focus. When the focus is placed upon the congregation, then one is forced to consider issues related to their needs, concerns, agenda, problems and more. However, when the focus is Godward, then worship and preaching become closely intertwined, for the real focus becomes proclaiming the good acts of God in history. Unfortunately, when one proclaims the great acts of God in history, members of the contemporary audience often don't "get it." The preacher is forced to deal with blank stares on the faces of people who seem to be saying,"So what?" Thus, the preacher often ends up focusing his/her attention on the congregation, thus making preaching less worship and more a subtle form of idolatry! What say ye?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous' comments are correct that when the focus is Godward then worship and preaching are intertwined. That's the way it should be in spite of any blank stares.