by John Meador
Boring." With this one word, many people describe their opinion of expositional preaching. Problem is, they've probably never heard expositional preaching delivered with passion! It may be they've heard preaching that ends with "zzzzzz," instead of preaching that ends with "!"
Preaching through the Scriptures should never be boring, routine, or lackluster. These are the very words of God! The ideal for exegesis and exposition is not a monotone explanation of each word, but an outcome of observation, investigation, and interpretation of the text, in which the preacher makes exciting discoveries that simply must be proclaimed with an exclamation mark!
We don't have to use topical preaching to capture the attention of people. Every book of the Bible has several series of powerful messages for the people we face on Sundays. When we have invested time in prayer and preparation, when we have gleaned feedback from a trusted creative team, and when we are in touch with our people, we are able to frame these series and allow the Scriptures to captivate their hearts.
For example, in preaching through the Book of Colossians verse by verse, I've identified several series to highlight over a six month period of time. I've studied through the book itself, outlined the basic breakdowns and worked to understand the culture of that day-which was similar to our own culture today.
Colossians 1 is very much focused on the sufficiency of Christ. It details for the Colossian believers that the answer for their lives is found completely in Christ-and in no other wisdom, knowledge, or person. Taking that understanding, I've decided to approach this first series in Colossians by pointing out that Christ is what most people are missing in their lives. They are looking for that missing wisdom, knowledge, supernatural power, and purpose-and Christ is all that and more. So, Colossians 1 will be a seven part series, entitled, "Missing!" Playing off the popular "Lost" TV series, I'm planning on introducing each message with the video testimony of a person who shares what was "missing" in his or her life before accepting Christ as Savior and Lord. The element that was missing will correspond with the text for that day. In my messages, I'll simply honor the text, and share that Jesus is that missing element in their lives.
Colossians 2 turns toward spiritual roots and growth. Using the metaphor of the plant that Paul gives us in verse 7, I'll preach several messages under a series entitled, "Like an Oak." The church I pastor has a huge oak tree on the property that has weathered time and storms for many, many years. I'll use pictures of that tree to hammer home the message of Colossians 2 and how spiritual roots keep you strong. When I finish the series, the image of the tree will continually remind them to sink their roots down deep in Christ in order to grow strong in the Christian life.
Colossians 3:1-17 highlights the "exchanged life." Since Paul clearly teaches that we are to lay aside the old and put on the new, I'm going to entitle that series, "LifeSwapping." By Christ's power, we are swapping our "old" life for His "new" life in us. The text specifically shows us what attitudes and actions we are to swap out, and what those are to be replaced with. Again, I'm using a title that is a play on words off a TV series, but you've got admit, it's intriguing!
Colossians 3:18-4:1 give us a focus of family and work life. I believe I'm going to title that series, "All in the Family." Over several weeks, these verses will take us through an emphasis on wives, husbands, children, and fathers. After that, Paul emphasizes the bondservants and masters, which has application to our workplace. So, we'll be talking about the literal family as well as the corporate family.
Colossians 4:2-18 are words that involve ministry. These verses detail the ministries of prayer, preaching, encouragement, maturing, and following through. The various names Paul lists emphasize various ministries through various people. It is a small picture of the church at work. Like so many sailors doing their jobs on the deck of a ship, we have a picture of teamwork. Let's call this series, "Sailing Into the Future." The words will challenge your people to fulfill the ministry they've been called to, and to "man the deck" for moving forward in the seas of our culture.
Over six months time, our people will come to understand the sufficiency in Christ, spiritual growth, how to be transformed in our attitudes and behaviors, family, and work life, and then be encouraged in ministry. It's a pretty good diet for building people's lives, and it all comes out of one book. I can't wait to preach it-with exclamation!
John Meador is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Euless, Texas.<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>