Why do I preach? And why do you go to church?

Why do pastors preach sermons? Because that's what all pastors do? Because the Bible tells us to preach? Because of something else?

For that matter, if you go to church, why do you do that? What do you hope happens when you go to church?

To be honest, these are not easy questions to answer. As a pastor, I sometimes get into the middle of the week, and I feel like I'm preparing to preach because Sunday's coming, and I'm supposed to preach. I mean, that's my job. I don't always stop to ask the deeper question, why am I doing this? What do I hope happens when I preach? I credit another pastor, Andy Stanley, for insisting that we pastors ask the deeper questions about why we preach (see his book Communicating for A Change).

So I'll come out with it. I hope people at Sanctuary are inspired to be with God, listen to him, and do what he says. I've talked about this at church before. It's simple, but when we relate to God and obey him, the best things happen. He will invite us to love him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. He will lead us to love one another selflessly. He will encourage us to take his love into every nook and cranny of the world we live in. He will do this in ever-surprising ways, because he's God, he's creative, and he's relating to each of us individually.

Why do you go to church? If you come to Sanctuary (or go to another church), I hope your goal becomes to be with God, listen to him, and do what he says. Be with him in worship and prayer, hear something from him as the Word is preached, and take concrete steps to obey him. When we do this, church becomes a fantastic change agent. Believe me, the best things will happen.

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