Friday, March 28, 2008

Surfing for Sermons - Part 1

Computers and Internet- Pastor’s Friends…or Not? I remember my desk cluttered with commentaries, concordances, Greek dictionary, numerous translations of the Bible, etc. - that is what studying the Word of God and sermon prep was all about. Also, don’t forget prayer! Then enter the computer era where all of these things are now on your computer ‘desktop.’ Those former resources are now collecting dust since I now use PC Study Bible.

And the Internet – have to love the Internet - you wouldn’t be reading this blog were it not for the Internet. We have an explosion of information. Searching or researching – it can be found on the Internet.

Are these great advancements considered to be a blessing to Pastors? Or are they rapidly becoming a curse?

As I look at other church’s websites and see their sermon promos and topics, I am becoming increasing aware that many pastors are using the same resources to get ideas and material to feed their sheep. It seems that pastors are spending more time surfing for sermons than praying and studying for them. Sermon prep is now relegated to a download from the Internet rather than a download from Heaven!

Don’t get me wrong. I too surf the Internet looking for material that will help my sermons (and boy do they need help!). Just as preachers before us read books and swapped sermon ideas we now use the Internet for the same thing. I was taught in Bible school this axiom, 'Milk a lot of cows but churn out your own butter.'

There are preachers that encourage the preaching of their material (even without credit) such as Rick Warren. He says, “What God has given to me, I freely give to others.” Others actually make their material available for a fee – some small and some exorbitant. In affect, other ministers are encouraging pastors to surf for sermons!

However there can be a dark side to all this. Dr. Tom Blackaby stirred me with the following statement, “The staggering amount of sermon material posted on the World Wide Web has become regular fodder for sermons all across our land and around the world. People are being given second-hand visions from mega churches, and second-hand sermons God gave to other messengers. Pastors have become sheep, giving their congregations the leftovers of what God provided other shepherds for their sheep. The words may be the same when they are re-preached, but the Spirit is missing.”


In the next few posts we will explore the need for balance and personal integrity on this issue.

1 comment:

hunt4christ said...

Pastor that is a good comment on sermon prep. I find it all too easy especially when I am struggling to find material that is fresh and has not been used. You taught me to look for the things that catch the attention of the congregation. This week I am preaching about taming the tongue so we went to a mexican meat market and got a cow tongue to use as a prop. You taught me that my imagination is a whole lot better for my congregation than someone else's vision or dream for their congregation. Godly Imagination is so much better that the internet.