So, I guess I should start by saying that this is a real question… I would really like to hear your opinions and thoughts.
So here is my history in a nutshell. When I first started attending Church, I went to a church that although the Pastor taught book by book, he really wasn’t a teacher (he would say he was though). He was a full-fledged Preacher, when you left church you were motivated and enthused. You left passionate about God and the Church and you generally felt full of Faith. At this point this was my only experience and I loved it.
A few years later I moved to Tucson Arizona and plugged right into another Church that taught verse by verse and line by line through the Bible. Well I found my experience very different to say the least. I was no longer sitting under a preacher that stirred your heart and emotion but found myself sitting under a teacher that was an exegetical surgeon. The Bible itself became a treasure chest of wisdom as I learned how to study and apply the Word myself.
Don’t get me wrong in thinking that one was better or worse. I feel amazingly blessed to have had both. I think I needed them both when I had them. And although I the first was an amazing orator, there was no way I could leave his teaching and pass it on to others. Gosh I remember him giving stirring messages on more than one occasion on one word!!! Who does that?
On the other hand, when I moved to Tucson I found myself taking copious notes and emailing them to friends. Although this Pastor maybe lacked passion in his presentation. He more than made up for it in making the message clear, graspable and reproducible. He was a scripture interprets scripture guy and if I heard it once I heard it a million times, “context, context, context”. It was his teaching that really exemplified the teach a man to fish feed him for a lifetime saying.
Here is the catch though, although my personal preference is to sit under a “teacher” It seems like the preachers are growing the large churches and making a difference at least short-term in a way that most of the teachers aren’t. Do you think that culturally what we need are the preachers to inspire and build community. To boldly proclaim the Gospel and attract the masses. Or do you think that we need teachers that maybe don’t attract the masses but develop disciples that are able to sit down with a friend at a coffee shop and to explain about God’s redemption using the Word of God (I am obviously stereo typing here to make a point, this isn’t exclusive teaching church but maybe more probable).
I know that the easy answer is we need Pastors that do both… But even these men drift one way or another. Some of my favorite orators can do both but lean one way or another. Take Mark Driscoll for example, I think Mark leans a little more preacher than teacher say maybe 60/40 Preacher Same with a guy like John Piper. While I think Matt Chandler is opposite leaning to say 60/40 Teacher. Tim Keller is one that is close to dead center 50/50 , but most pastors lean way more one way or the other. I love guys like Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, Judah Smith, John MacArthur, and Rick Warren to name a few. These are all amazing Pastors but I think they may lean one way a little heavy or another when they speak.
Is there a right or wrong here or it just preferential? Should pastors know where they lack and try to supplement through ancillary programs. Or is this just part of the age-old attraction vs discipleship argument?
So is your Pastor a Teacher of Preacher? here is a test… Take a pad of paper to church on sunday or pull up your churches latest podcast and take notes. Now can you take your note open your bible and give that message in a way that makes sense to a friend, It’s okay to fumble through a not have the cool jokes witty one liners, But can you take the basic message utilizing the text of the Bible and reproduce it to friend?
I think at times this is a good question for a Pastor to ask… Are your messages simple enough to pass on? Do you feel so much pressure to perform and entertain that you are missing the structure to develop your people. And on the other hand. Are your sermons just a theological class that lack any personal connection or enough passion to be believable or contagious?
Pastors, I would love to hear how you maintain both if you feel like you have a good balance?
Or if anyone wants to share a link to some of your favorite teachers I’d love to take a listen.