Found an interesting little post by Steve Mathewson over at Preaching Today’s blog about preaching and application (Guys who have been part of the Moralistic vs. Christ/Gospel-Centered Preaching discussion and conundrum, this is an interesting take, I think). Steve spells out what I have had a hard time putting my own finger on – how do you “do” application without creating “to do” lists for people in our churches and ministries that become over-burdensome, yet at the same time, preaching the Word so that it connects and calls people to action (or maybe, a better word, respond).
Steve names the “life application points” that we usually tack on to the end of a sermon as “reductionism” – boiling everything down to a few specific things we should do. To correct this, he offers an approach of giving people “leads” – sharing a few illustrations of how other people applied/lived out the passage, or something like, “Image what our church/city/world would look like if we…[fill in the blank].” The basic idea is that we preach the content of Scripture, and give “lead ins” for people to pick up and act on the application, without spelling it out for them with “situational specificity” (Bryan Chapel term).
Guys, what do you think about this approach? Does it avoid the trappings of “reductionism” in application? If so, does it fail to “call people to action/response” based on God’s Word? Could you see this improving or impeding your own preaching?
Thoughts, comments, push-backs…bring them on!