Thanks for your feedback about the teaching style at Oak Leaf Church. I really appreciate your comment and wanted to take a quick moment to answer your concerns.
We didn’t begin Oak Leaf Church five years ago because Christians couldn’t find a great church to attend. There are some GREAT churches in our area led by some GREAT pastors. Instead, we wanted to start a church determined to reach the 75% of the population who did not go to church anywhere. That single decision really affects much of what we do.
In 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul writes that his goal was to preach the gospel “not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of it’s power.” For me, preaching isn’t about how smart I am or how much I know, it’s about connecting people with the Gospel of Jesus.
J. Vernon McGee once said “Jesus didn’t say, ‘Feed my giraffes.’ He said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ Put the hay on the lower shelf so God’s sheep can get to it.” Every week, I prepare messages knowing that there are Christians and non-Christians from all walks of life in the service. I heard someone once say that great teachers take complex material and make it simple, while bad teachers take simple ideas and make them complex. I don’t always succeed, but I’m trying to be in that first list.
Simple sermons aren’t the same things as simplistic sermons. We want to connect with people, making a deep truth understandable to those who haven’t grown up in church and those who don’t have religious education. Love God and love others – what some have called the great commandments – are really quite simple. It’s following them that’s tough.
I’ve been a Christian for more than 20 years, and I’ve learned so much about the Bible. I love theology – the study of God and I love discussing the deeper truths of Christianity. I love reading books, taking classes and listening to sermons that deepen my faith and feed my soul. We live in a day and age where this information is readily available.
I remember learning as a kid that Jesus loved me. And like Paul challenged his readers, I’ve moved on from milk and learned to feed myself with the meat of God’s Word. But I’ve never graduated from the deep truth that Jesus loves me and Jesus chose me.
I say all of that to say this: We design our church services to be the front door to our church. It’s a broad environment designed to help people take steps in their faith – it’s not designed to be the end-all and only source of teaching in your life.
On the weekend, we’re teaching Christians and non-Christians – young, old and everywhere in between, to take simple steps to follow Jesus. We have several other environments designed to help you go “deeper” in your faith. There are small groups that study the Bible – some go verse by verse. In the summer, we offer classes on subjects like theology, church history, and books of the Bible. These “next level environments” might interest you.
I’d be happy to connect you with someone who can get you more information on groups, classes, or service opportunities. I’m also attaching a list of recommended sermons, books and resources that will help you grow in your faith.
Finally, there are several great churches in our area with preachers who teach verse by verse through books of the Bible. I have the honor of calling several of them my friends and would be happy to recommend a church that might be more in line with your style. At any rate, I’m happy to call you a brother in Christ.
When They Say The Sermon Isn’t Deep Enough
September 13, 2011 by 1 Comment
Yesterday, I shared with you I responded to the few people that said that the music was too loud. Today, let me tell you how we respond to the few people who say that the teaching isn’t deep enough for them. Keep in mind that this complaint is fairly rare. Here’s my typical response to this issue: