Teaching for failure …

One of the hats I wear includes reviewing books for publishers or public relations firms. This morning I was perusing some of the titles for review. None of them were appealing.

Nearly every book was written by a “rock star” pastor, and nearly every subject was a “felt needs” topic. For example, an internationally-known pastor was writing about how to be more productive with your time.

“We’re all such busy people and Pastor X is an expert at getting things done … here are tips for doing more in 30 minutes … blah, blah, blah …”

This is the kind of teaching we’re seeing at a time when the church is in serious decline in the West. The same pastors will argue that only the legalistic and mean-spirited want more on theology and doctrine — something greatly lacking in the church today — and any kind of teaching or writing that takes people into the deeper things of God are ridiculed as being unwelcome and unrealistic for our culture.

By churning out the fluff that makes for popular reading, we set up learners for failure. That’s because such teachers are leading their followers into a life of activity without a firm foundation. When you insist on building something before you have a solid foundation on which to build, at some time what you build will be destroyed. Don’t take my word for it; instead, listen to what Jesus has to say about this matter …

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash,” Matthew 7:24-27.

With churches filled with members who are biblically illiterate and undiscipled, we don’t need sermons or books about how to be more productive with our time. We need teaching that leads believers in the Way of Christ and disciples them to spiritual maturity so that they have a firm foundation on which to build a life transformed by God.

We need to preach and write less about issues and things, and much, much more about Jesus Christ! That is, if we really want to see those we serve grow up to be like Christ.

By the way, one way to discourage the continued writing of fluff books is to not buy them. And if your church leadership team persists on preaching fluff topics, provide them with concise feedback that you would like to see more significant teaching and equipping of disciples in the church you’re a part of. Sometimes such feedback is necessary to motivate some leaders to actually provide what is needed rather than what is popular.