Preaching At People

I have often heard that pastors should never preach at people from the pulpit. I respect the opinion and understand the point, but I can also tell you why I choose to go right ahead and preach at people anyway.

Here’s my definition of what I think they mean by “don’t preach at people.” If you know someone in church is trying to finagle their way to become the new Sunday School teacher, you don’t begin a series on leadership with your main and frequently repeated point being–don’t take someone else’s job from them. That kind of thing.

However, I think this point can be taken too far. Many pastors have taken this advice and turned it into–never offend, never tackle a tough issue, never talk about anything remotely close to what anyone in church is currently dealing with.

Irrelevant drivel is the result. A pastor should have the spiritual fortitude to confront people in private over an issue they believe should be confronted. To hide behind the pulpit and lob attacks won’t work and is spineless. Confront the moron trying to take over Sunday School in person.

At the same time, Paul is very direct in his writing to Corinth and Galatia, certainly preaching to people, even naming some of them so others would know specifically who he’s talking about! There is a time and a place for preaching at people and I think the time and place is more frequent than we may think.

5 thoughts on “Preaching At People”

  1. Should a pastor preach at people? I’d say no, but a pastor should have the balls to address the issues that are present in his church.

    I personally would not sit down and prepare a study to hit Billy-Bob right between the eyes. If I’m teaching Romans though, and I get to the verses where Paul deals with Homosexuality, I’m not going to dumb down what Paul wrote just so someone won’t get offended.

    I’ve heard people say to my pastor, “You were talking about ME weren’t you!!” When he wasn’t, he was merely preaching through a book of the Bible. Hebrews 4:12 says that the world of God is living, powerful, and it cuts. It speaks to each person with what they are going through right now.

    If I were to throw a rock into a pack of dogs, I would imagine the one that yelps is the one I hit. I’m not preparing with a person in mind to pummel. But I have taught and known that this was something that an individual was dealing with. That’s how I strive to teach.

  2. I agree. My problem is more the idea that you avoid topics so as not to preach at anyone. That bugs me because what would you talk about really? One of the points of preaching is to apply the sword to the heart, as you say. You can’t do that if you don’t preach at people!

  3. yeah, avoiding topics is stupid. You want to smack some people and say are you going to be a pastor or not?? Fine! then teach what you know you need to for your people to change!

  4. I’m not so sure that you can’t prepare a sermon to address a specific problem in your church. Seems like a lot of Paul’s letters did this.

    Easy for me to say – I’m not a pastor.

  5. A specific problem? no, I wouldn’t have any issues with that. It sort of suggests that it’s a wide-spread thing. But a specific person? I’d avoid that.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: