My ministry philosophy is based upon the primary focus to spend the whole of our lives sharing the gospel and growing in the knowledge and understanding of our Lord. The command to make disciples recorded in Matthew 28:19-20 and to do so as you go creates the framework behind a missional outreach lifestyle. In two short verses, the gospel writer records a high calling for believers to share the good news of Jesus Christ and to get plugged-in to God’s redemptive plan for the entirety of their lives. In these verses, discipleship is purposed as an intentional ongoing culture, not just an organized church led event, but rather as our only way of life.
At a corporate level, reaching out to the community in church-led outreach events is enormously important. In recent years I have come to emphasize to our own church family the need to build relationships with the people that we meet everyday. From coffee shops, libraries, stores and even at church functions, we must work to build stronger relationships with people that cross our paths in the community both inside and outside of our church walls. The simple function of inviting someone to church can knit people together in love and service of our Lord.
As a pastor and professor, I have a great concern with the level of Christian understanding that we as evangelical Southern Baptists impress upon our congregations from the pulpit. For the last several decades studies on the internal life of the evangelical church have shown that we are becoming progressively illiterate in our biblical understanding. In other words, our Christian culture as a whole has come to know less about the Bible and Christian doctrines over time. This movement is due in part from an absence of solid theological teaching of the Scriptures. For this reason, I spend a large portion of my time studying and writing sermons, articles, and my first book in an effort to bring Christians to a deeper understanding of the Christian faith. My book, Grounded: Anchoring the Evangelical Sermon in Theological Doctrine was written with this specific purpose in mind.
My style of preaching would be considered expository by most textbooks and seminary professors. In his book, Faithful Preaching, Dr. Tony Merida offers three great examples of preaching styles. He says preachers typically handle the Scriptures like a swimming pool. The first way is when the preacher reads a passage of scripture and dives off into his sermon never returning to the Scriptures again. In the second style, they sprinkle Scripture across their sermon in an effort to give it credibility. Finally the third, an expository sermon, is my style. This is where the preacher takes the congregation for a swim in the Scriptures, examining them in detail, all while connecting that theology in how we should live our lives in relationship to our Lord.
In closing, preaching, building relationships, making disciples and church life is something I am truly passionate about. The Christian faith challenges us to commit ourselves to a path of knowledge and obedience to our Lord. From a pastoral viewpoint, the biblical role of shepherding the sheep requires the pastor to grow the sheep through a steady diet of teaching God’s word. Sermons should inspire the congregation to give sacrificially and to encourage each other to devote our lives to the study of His word. Even so, God calls us to be a people who are dedicated to the ongoing culture of making disciples and for this reason, we give our all to Him.
For HIM I Give My All,
Copyright 2013. Melinda Brown. All rights reserved.