Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Deep" Teaching / Preaching. What is it?

Last night I had a great conversation with Matt.  He is one of IBC's super duper college ministry leaders and a seminary student.

We were talking about certain speakers and preachers and some were described as "not very deep".  So we started to ask the question, what is deep teaching?

Does depth come when you throw in a greek word here and there?

Is depth when you give lots of historical and cultural background?

Is it deep when you tell your listeners something they don't know?

Does talking for a long time and reading lots of scripture make a talk deep?

Does depth happen when those listening have their thinking challenged?

This morning some other questions started rattling around in my mind.  Is depth a sufficient goal for my speaking?  Do I want people to walk away after listening to me and say "wow, that was deep" or do I want them to walk away thinking / feeling / doing something else?

So how would you define "deep teaching"?  AND do you believe depth is a legitimate goal for speakers to have?

1 comment:

  1. Good questions. I get the sense that "deep" might have varying meanings for different people, based upon their preferences. Regardless, I don't think depth just for the sake of depth is a worthy goal for preaching. That being said, I think there is a legitimate concern about lack of depth in much current preaching. What we need is for the burden of any text to connect to the depths of our need for the gospel. Where I think there is legitimate concern about depth is in preaching that seems to be mainly intended to entertain or just give people "warm fuzzies" (which is not uncommon in many American churches). I think you're exactly right that our goal in preaching should be far more than people walking away impressed by how "deep" it was. Preaching can turn into the Christian version of "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy" (remember the SNL skits?) that do people no good. In many ways the best preaching communicates complicated truth simply. But that easily understood truth can cut deeply into our hearts, convicting us of sin, ways we need to believe or live differently. Where I see a possible lack of depth is in teaching that doesn't really relate to the messiness of life- Bible stories that come across more like moral tales than truth that could actually affect our lives in any real way. We need preaching that connects the amazing depths of gospel riches found in scripture to our amazingly deep spiritual need. Teaching that doesn't engage either or both of those things is cause for concern. But unfortunately, usually when I hear the "his preaching isn't very deep" critique it's an assessment of something much more superficial ("he uses too many illustrations" or something else).
    Not sure any of thoughts are cohesive. Thanks for getting me thinking though.