Previously, I described what it means for Immanuel to be a Word-centered church. You can find that post HERE. A Word-centered church is a congregation gathered for the receiving of God’s Word. But how should we express Word-centered convictions? What is it about our attendance, order of service, and demeanor that validates it?
In upcoming blog posts, I will describe and apply what it means to be a Word-centered church in four areas: (1) expositional preaching, (2) shepherding leadership, (3) meaningful membership, and (4) healthy gatherings.
To begin, a Word-centered church gathers for the preaching of God’s Word. At Immanuel, we practice expositional preaching. We preach through books of the Bible—verse by verse, chapter by chapter, and book by book, and the point of the passage is the point of the sermon. That is what expositional means. Preaching exposes the meaning. It brings the Bible to light. It makes clear what to believe and how to obey. It informs the mind. It reveals truth and calls for a natural response to the truth.
A Word-centered commitment to expositional preaching means that we set our attention on God’s Word when we gather as the church. Consider Jensen and Grimmond’s appeal, “The purest preaching happens in the context where God’s servant is preaching God’s word to God’s people. This makes both church going and church preaching critical. In our gatherings, we must be careful not to allow other elements to crowd out the hearing of God’s word.”¹ We meet for 75 minutes on Sunday morning and 60 minutes on Sunday night. Our goal is to focus that sacred time on God’s Word from prelude to benediction.
So how do we apply this? As a listener, expositional preaching requires your time, attention, and application.
First, it requires your time. Presence means everything. A television is no substitute for the church. Second, pay attention, absorb, focus, and assimilate what the Bible means. It is hard and necessary to focus. Third, make personal applications beyond those suggested by the pastor and make them stick. To help, four application questions are published along with every sermon on Immanuel’s Church App.
¹Jensen, Phillip D. and Paul Grimmond. The Archer and the Arrow: Preaching the Very Words of God
(Australia: Matthias Media), 2010. p. 44.