Christianity 201

October 30, 2012

Andy Stanley on Practical Teaching

This is from the recently released book, Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love To Attend (Zondervan, hardcover) in which Andy Stanley, writing primarily to church leaders, shares the behind-the-scenes secrets of North Point Community Church in north Atlanta, Georgia.

It’s unfortunate that someone can grow up hearing sermons and Sunday school lessons, yet never be captivated by the Scriptures. But, unfortunately, that seems to be the rule rather than the exception. And this is not a twentieth- or twenty-first century problem.

When Jesus finished what we commonly refer to as the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew records the crowd’s response:

Matthew 7: 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

All teaching and preaching is not the same. The first-century teachers of the law were teaching from the same script Jesus would refer to throughout his earthly ministry. But there was something different about his presentation. He spoke with authority. Apparently he had a passion the other teachers lacked. More specifically, he wasn’t satisfied to simply say what was true. He want his audience to act on what they heard. As you may recall, he closed that particular message with a specific call to action along with an emotionally charged promise and warning:

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock … 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

Jesus taught for a response. He taught for life change. He didn’t come simply to dispense information. We rarely find him chastising people for their lack of knowlede. It was almost always their lack of faith evidenced by a lack of application. “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” he asked the disciples in the midst of a terrifying ordeal on the water (Matt. 8:26). Jesus wasn’t after mental assent to facts. Jesus was after active, living, do-the-right-thing faith. And when he taught, he taught with that in mind.

…Practical teaching that moves people to action is one of the primary things God uses to grow our faith.

…Our messages and lesson preparations are not complete until we know what we want our audiences to do with what they are about to hear. To grow our congregants’ faith, we must preach and teach for life change.

Andy Stanley, Deep and Wide, pp. 112-114

1 Comment »

  1. […] a quotation from the book published today at […]

    Pingback by Andy Stanley Reveals What’s In The Secret Sauce « Thinking Out Loud — October 30, 2012 @ 8:16 pm | Reply

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