Friday, January 31, 2014


I greatly enjoy any opportunity to reflect on preaching.  Talking with a couple of colleagues this week one of them summed up how some churches view preaching by making this contrast: some churches focus on giving input, while others focus on output. 

Input churches see themselves as preaching centres which offer the excellence of their preaching staff.  Come to their churches and you will be sure to hear a high standard of preaching within their own church culture.   If it is verse-by-verse preaching you can be certain of clear teaching with worthy exegesis;  if it is more narrative in style you can be guaranteed excellence of content, and so on.   These churches concentrate on providing the best input they can.

However, other churches are concerned about output which focuses less on product and rather more on the outcomes of the preaching in terms of whole-life discipleship.  They ask: "Can you discern a process of change so that as people gather for worship they 'embrace the prospect of God using them for his purposes on their frontlines, the places where they already spend most of their time.'? How much are worshippers involved in the outworking of proclamation as they scatter to work in God's kingdom' ?

Input preaching encourages solo work from the preacher and tends towards a more individualistic approach, while output preaching calls for community collaboration and worship beyond church walls.

Obviously this contrast oversimplifies matters.  Apart from anything else, you need well-prepared input in order for there to be output, but as soon as I heard it I recognized its appropriateness in my experience!  Does it ring true for you? 

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