We exist to help pastors plant, grow, and multiply healthy churches. Because healthy churches don't just happen, they are nurtured by healthy pastors who are devoted to God's word and deliver it with conviction. This is why we need to know how to practically obey our God by preaching the whole counsel of Scripture (Acts 20:27, Matt. 28:20). We must preach from the scriptures with a coherent theological vision in order to form our people as the church and fuel them into the world.
But nobody preaches in a vacuum. Every preacher is communicating to particular people in a particular place inside both space and time. Therefore, healthy contextualization is necessary — not to make the scriptures meaningful (they are plenty sufficient, true, and powerful on their own), but to show the audience’s relevancy to the scriptures.
To that end, Sojourn Community Church and many Sojourn Network churches have adopted this helpful preaching grid (you can download it as a PDF by clicking the image below) based on a theological vision developed by Sojourn Community Church called North Star. (You can view the North Star Catechism here.) The grid and the included questions will help preachers filter some first steps in contextualization like age range of attendees, spiritual situations of the people, or atmosphere of the particular local church.
PROVIDING HELPFUL FEEDBACK
Often and mostly informally, the campus pastors at Sojourn Community Church give feedback to one another. They have live preaching at each of their four campuses with four main communicators. As they collaborate, listen to each other’s sermons, and meet together each week, they give feedback along the lines of this grid in order to keep the preaching balanced and deep, as they earnestly preach the whole counsel of God.
- What other questions are you regularly asking yourself each week during sermon prep?
- Do you have a theological vision you try to check against your preaching?
- How does accountability for preaching work in your church?
- Do you have elders or church members of a variety of age and life situations speaking into your work?
PREACHERS HELPING PREACHERS
This material is based on the work of Daniel Montgomery, originally published here. Daniel is the Lead Pastor of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also the Co-Founder & President of Sojourn Network.