Once again my good friend John Armstrong at ACT3 has put his finger on a major weakness in our American churches. It comes on the day before we Americans go to the polls to choose our national leaders. What he has to say about the absence of prophetic preaching in the pulpits of America and spiritual leadership by vision, has much to do with the challenges our larger society is facing at this moment. In “What  happened to Prophetic preaching”? He writes,

John H. Armstrong, Director ACT3

“The vast majority of pastors, as revealed in a number of surveys, declare that leadership is their greatest weakness. They admit to having become managers of ecclesial organizations and speakers in churches on Sunday. But less than 10% (in one survey) said that they believed they were leaders. A leader exercises influence, casts vision and helps people to follow that vision. Modern ideology and modern ways of training men and women for pastoral ministry have impacted the church profoundly in this area. We need to understand how and why and what we can do about this problem.

Our schools have prepared future ministers to be students who can exegete a text, clinicians who can listen and help people in personal crisis and managers who can direct programs and serve the social structures of the church. But they have not conveyed clearly how to be a godly, praying, spiritually-formed leaders who can inspire and build up people in their daily lives. And they have not been taught how to prophesy the Word of the Lord.

In my lifetime I have seen the role of the pastor change dramatically. I remember my childhood pastors being shepherds of people and leaders who gave a vision to our collective witness. I held my pastors in high esteem. Today this has changed. Pastors are much less accessible to people, far less able to cast clear vision, and churches collectively languish in spirit. This has created a tragic gulf between leaders and people. People now demand managers for the church. They do not want prophets who will challenge them to think and become truly different in faith and virtue.”

I personally believe this is one of John’s better messages to the churches and the way forward in the future.

The entire article available as   Prophetic Preaching Pastors (pdf).

Recommended reading: The Work of Preaching Christ (1864)

AN URGENT NEED!     John enjoying a baseball game w/ His brother

 

ACT3 President Coming To Madison County-

October 4th – 5:00-7:00pm

 (John,on the right, with his brother Thomas on opening day of the Marlins)

Dr.John H. Armstrong will be speaking at Trinity Church PCA, Richmond, to a unity celebration sponsored by E4Unity, Sunday at 5:00p.m. The web site of ACT3 ministries pretty well sums up John’s passion since 1991: “Equipping Leaders for Unity in Christ’s Mission”.

Since about 1998 John has been a personal friend and a great encouragement. Though I am a few years older, I have found in him a worthy model of what I am advocating and seeking to promote in the local area among all the churches. He will be with us to talk about his new book to be released by Zondervan in April, 2010. It is a book that he says is his own personal vision that God has been teaching him about the urgent need among American Christians. It is entitled, “Your Church is Too Small: Why unity in Christ’s Mission is vital to the future of the Church”. 

John has served the church in a number of ways for some thirty years and has authored books(twelve) that demonstrate his love for Christian churches of all the different traditions. In his sermons, lectures, and books and writing, John is focused on providing resources and counsel for Pastors and leaders. He is a capable Biblical scholar himself serving as an adjunct professor of evangelsim at the Wheaton College Graduate School.

If you are in the Lexington-Richmond area, we urge you to join us for this very profitable session regarding the church, her unity, and her mission.

For location of Trinity Church PCA  (here)

For an example of the resources ACT3 provides for the churches see the forthcoming Biblical Forum, a periodic gathering for serious Biblical theology, Oct.30,31, in the Chicago area. The theme will be, “Reading the Old Testament as Jesus Did”.