Jesus, life

Takin’ it to the Streets

As you know, church has been kinda’ bugging me lately, and one of the things that has been bugging me is the preaching.  It doesn’t really belong in church.

Preaching belongs in the streets.

One of the most powerful sermons ever preached is recorded in Acts 2. Peter brilliantly, powerfully, clearly and anointedly laid it all out in the public square and thousands accepted his message that day and were baptized.

Thousands of people got what he said.

They heard the good news and they got it.  They did not need to keep getting it.

Can you imagine how boring it would have been for them if, after they were baptized, Peter just kept reiterating the same message to them again and again?

Jesus’s parting words were, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

The word preaching does not appear in His commission to us.  He didn’t tell us to preach to the church, because preaching to the church is like preaching to the choir.  It’s unnecessary.

Preaching is implied, however, in the “go make disciples” part.  It’s what Peter did out there in the public square.  But once those three thousand new believers were baptized into the faith, they no longer needed preaching, they needed teaching.

Preach then baptize then teach.

Teach obedience to the things Jesus taught.

Preaching is like professing.  A professor stands behind a lectern and professes what he knows, take it or leave it.  But a teacher is hands on.  A teacher makes sure his/her students know how to apply the concepts.

In the comment section of a recent post, Reuben Kerr wrote, “The church desperately needs Shepherds but with the ‘over-emphasis’ on teaching today a minister is more likely to be chosen for his leadership qualities or his speaking ministry over his pastoral heart. In the UK the ‘pastoral care’ has been given to the ladies of the church. Men may be getting ‘fed’ but they’re not being cared for. And men really do need men to pastor them! And what happens – men struggling with all kinds of sin, get discouraged, defeated and eventually give up. In the meantime, the LORD is saying – where are my Shepherds? It’s a dire problem that needs urgent attention.”

That over-emphasis on teaching sounds like it might be an over-emphasis on preaching.  Because teaching goes hand in hand with good shepherding.  It comes alongside. It shows a struggling person how to overcome his/her struggles.

I was attending an inner city church earlier this year.  The pastor there is doing an amazing job of caring for the community.  His actions are preaching the good news of Christ.  And that form of “preaching” in the community is bringing people through the doors of the church on Sunday mornings.  And that is great.

Preaching is meant to bring lost sinners into the church, but the job is not done.

Yelling repent Sunday after Sunday while the “choir” shouts their amen does not complete the mission. It does little good to stand at the pulpit and admonish the addicts and the prostitutes to repent unless you show them how.  Unless you take them by the hand and walk them to victory.

“Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

And how did Jesus teach? Well, He didn’t stand behind a lectern and yell.  He taught by example, by action. He modeled love. He went out to where the hurting people were and He touched them. He healed them.  He redirected their thinking. He counseled. He removed scales from eyes. He stooped to wash the feet of those closest to Him.  He showed us what His Father is like.

Jesus taught His disciples by taking them along on His mission.

Perhaps Pastors should teach us to obey Jesus by getting us up out of the pews on Sunday mornings and taking us with them to preach in the streets.  So we can welcome any resultant new believers into a fellowship of actively caring for one another.  While we all go out and rescue some more.

Perhaps church should be nothing more than us out on mission with Jesus – learning together how to care for those He loves.  Because actions have always spoken louder than words.

So weigh in. Is your pastor using nitty-gritty, hands-on actions, mere eloquent words or a perfect combination of both to show you what the Father is like?

Is anyone in your church meeting your deepest needs?  Does anyone in your church even know what your deepest needs are?  Does anyone know your struggles?  If so, are you takin’ it to the streets?

I’d love to hear how a truly effective Shepherd shepherds.  Reuben probably would, too.

“Take this message to my brother, you will find him everywhere…”

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28 thoughts on “Takin’ it to the Streets

  1. First, I love that song! I think it’s the best thing Michael McDonald ever did.

    Second, I agree in totality with what you have said here. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for getting people into the church building to hear the message. I am, and always will be, the real deal local church guy.

    The problem is, the people who most need reaching are least likely to come to our buildings to hear the Gospel preached. We absolutely have to take it to them personally and up close. FYI. Ray Comfort is a great hero of mine.

    A side note on my Pastor..he is very much a shepherd in our community, even among those who will never set foot in our church. If there is a need, he will reach out to it. We all, honestly, should follow his example better than we do. Don’t get me wrong, we very much try to reach out and help meet actual needs, but we can always do better.

    Street preaching…was just talking to my wife yesterday that we ought to do some of that. Gotta wonder why this post showed up today. Hmm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for getting the discussion started, Wally. Glad your pastor is out there. I wonder if pastors being involved in the community is more common in rural and urban settings. It’s rare here in the ‘burbs.

      Street preaching with your wife? Now that you have your marching orders, be sure to post about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you hit a good point about the suburbs Julie. They are, by nature I think somewhat less of a community than either a rural community or city one. Might make it even more important for people to reach out there.

        Well, let me qualify the preaching thing. My wife is a lovely, wonderful person, but she herself would never do that. It’s just not her style. Me, on the other hand, tend to be loud and vocal anyway. She, on the other hand, is very good with people one on one. We are a good team, though. Her strong point is repairing the havoc I wreak sometimes.

        I don’t know if that will ever happen. Thus far, it’s only ever been a thing that sounds neat. It hasn’t progressed into a full blown call yet…but it does seem to pop up now and then.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Talking to people one on one is a great way to “preach” the good news. I’m guessing that’s why Jesus stayed at Zacchaeus’s house and ate with tax collectors and sinners.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yep. Many good ways to preach it, and not all of us are called to do all of them. We are all the body, this is true. But, as The Bible tells us, not all are the foot, or not all the hand(serious paraphrase there!), but all are absolutely necessary. I do believe with all of my heart, though, that we are called to actually preach it in some active fashion. A friend of mine and I love to knock on doors and have been known to just jump right in with a complete stranger with an up front presentation of all parts of the Gospel, even the parts we like to avoid. On the other hand, sometimes we just sit around and visit. It’s all about the specific leading of the Holy Spirit for a specific situation. Not everyone can knock on a stranger’s door, and not everyone is called to do that. To each his or her calling; the important thing is to note that we each have one, and God expects us to answer it.

            Liked by 2 people

  2. Our pastor did an awesome job for the memorial service….and then nothing. No calls. No emails. No texts. Not even after church, “how are you guys doing?” Six months later, after eight years in that church, we left. He was a preacher, not a pastor. A shepherd would have cared for his deeply wounded, hurting sheep. We were saved, committed members. What more could we need? Answer: a lot, love, compassion, stories of when our son was in his youth group, anything but silence.

    Good preachers do not often make good pastors; they are evangelists. A pastor shepherds his flock with compassion, understanding, and truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said and exactly right Kathleen. I’m sorry you didn’t get the care you needed. I never got the care my broken heart needed, either.

      To paraphrase Paul, a pastor who preaches with the tongue of angels, but has no real love for his people, is just an annoying gong.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He ended up leaving full time ministry a year later.

        We had so many friends from other areas, and from that church, love is well. I cannot complain about the love and care we received. God provided; the Comforter comforted.

        It is a great example of a gifted preacher being hired for the wrong job.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I have been in several congregations over the years, but the particular one we attend now has been very healing for my husband and I who came from a very abusive congregation previously. A good shepherd is one who leads from behind; He does not walk ahead of the flock, but walks in the back with the stragglers, the weak, the feeble, the young and old. He is humble and patient. He knows the specifications of the job are to protect and feed the sheep, leading them to small patches of grass, sustaining them as they have need. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdzhbv2eGxk) He has the ability to speak one message where both the simple as well as the learned can understand, so no one goes hungry.
    A good shepherd does not control the activities of the flock. He encourages others to organize events, in homes for more intimate gatherings, than at the big building, not wanting to make fellowship into a big production. A good shepherd surrounds himself with wise counselors and listens to their advice. A good shepherd never seeks to control, but instead points the flock to the True Shepherd who is really in control. He realizes he is only a hireling/sheep, and seeks to be faithful in the little responsibility that he’s been given, knowing that the flock is not really his, but instead has been enstrusted to Him, by One greater than he. He has a servant’s heart just like the True Shepherd, and seeks to emulate Him in all things.

    Anyway, that’s just what I’ve seen. 🙂

    Shalom and blessings,
    S~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sarah! Love this: “A good shepherd is one who leads from behind; He does not walk ahead of the flock, but walks in the back with the stragglers, the weak, the feeble, the young and old.”

      Thanks for bringing this up: “in homes for more intimate gatherings,” because those intimate gatherings are where the real healing and victory over sin takes place. 🙂

      Oh and thanks for the interesting video clip. I really liked this line from it: “Worry,” said one rabbi, “is dealing with tomorrow’s problem on today’s pasture.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you for your kind words, Reuben. I just call it like I see it. 🙂 If you live in Ohio, or ever come for a visit, you’d be most welcome. Our congregation’s messages can be heard at http://www.bethtikkun.com (Beth Tikkun means House of Restoration; and that has certainly what it has been for me!) May you be blessed as you continue to follow the One True Shepherd our Messiah and soon coming King!

        Shalom and blessings,
        S~

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Julie, my pastor preaches and teaches. But he is a die-hard transformer. He is always on about how what you feed on can change you life all round (spiritually, physically, mentally, etc.) pushes you to go forward. Besides this, we have CITH – Church In The Home (called cell churches in other denominations). As a limited resource, he can only do so much, so we have other pastors head these units and reach/minister to people (not just our church folks) one-on-one. Other times we have medical, feeding outreaches and minister to the people.

    In other words, he equips us, so wherever we find ourself in the market place etc we are able to be like-Christ to the world. But then, that’s a choice we each have to make to be Christ or just think it is a job for the Pastor alone.

    I love this wake-up call!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Pingback: Takin’ it to the Streets | Truth in Palmyra

  6. My pastor is ALL about taking it to the streets. There are many, many ministries to choose from that address different areas of need (human sex trafficking, addiction, etc…) and he is always encouraging us to get busy and get out there. In addition to the large main campus, there are many micro sites where temporary “churches” are set up in rough areas of the city, even in bars, and services are streamed live. It’s a pretty powerful scene to watch some who go and the change that takes place.

    Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome Julie, it’s a very interesting topic you brought up. I just wish I was more motivated to participate in all the opportunities to serve my church offers.

        Like

        • Why do you think it is that you are not more motivated Tricia?

          I wish I was more motivated, too. I tend to lose/lack motivation when I see the mission of the group devolve into mere human effort, petty pride, glory-grabbing, etc.

          I doubt I would lack motivation if the Holy Spirit was moving in my community today as powerfully as He did back when Peter was preaching.

          Maybe I need to go where the boom-bands are playing.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Boom bands, yes, that might do it! 😉 For me, I just let myself get too easily swayed by business and other dumb stuff. It’s weird, when I’m in the spirit” and participating in helping others through ministry, it’s truly the most amazing thing and I’m encouraged to do more. Then I let life get in the way and well, you know how that goes….

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m still just getting to know our pastor. Going on a mission trip with him let me see him, see his heart, in a whole new light. He had such joy in ministering to people, whether it was the people in the church we went to help, or the gypsies that this church ministers to. Here at home, he doesn’t just preach. He is involved in and encourages involvement in community outreach. Wonderful to see.

    Like

      • Best thing I saw was the beautiful Slovakian countryside. Best thing I heard? The singing in church. Oh my word! very musical people, and the men really let it rip! Best thing I did was going out to a gypsy compound to give my testimony, sing, and listen to the stories of how many of them came to Christ. Also had the opportunity to speak twice to the women, and they are so hungry for the Word that they didn’t let me stop after half an hour or so, which is all most of us here in the USA will tolerate. And their laughter. I had a really good interpreter, and she managed to translate my silliness to that they got the jokes, and I discovered that both music and laughter help to bind the hearts of people halfway around the world 🙂

        And thanks for asking!

        Liked by 1 person

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