Say “no” to likable sermons and “yes” to the family model of ministry

I found this blog over the weekend. Sermons Are Not For Liking by Tim Challies. Challies is right when he says,

Sermons are not for liking. Sermons are for listening, they are for discerning, they are for applying, but they are not for liking. You don’t get to like or dislike a sermon. We tend to ask questions like, “So how did you enjoy the sermon today?” It is just the wrong question to ask.

CEO style pastors want their sermons to be liked, because when a sermon is enjoyable, people come back and they may even bring friends. Many church leaders set their measure of success at how many people attend their likable sermons.

The problem is that sermons are supposed to be life changing. They are supposed to challenge people to consider their life and how they need to change. Sermons are not supposed to be cruel or damning in the sense that some people want to make them, but they are supposed to be honest and probing. CEO pastors cannot be honest when they prefer to be liked.

That’s why we need a family model of ministry. A model that encourages honest reflection because the pastor is a part of the family, not a hired leader. The family-model pastor is a caretaker of the family so they know when they have to say the unpopular thing. Pastors need to take their place that the parents of the congregation, not seeking to be likable or have their work enjoyable, but seeking to help the people to grow in maturity.

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