There's a good blog on suburban church stuff emanating for the US but featuring some thought-provoking posts, including this one about teaching becoming something of an idol.
Author, Michael Wallenmeyer, offers some pretty sharp observations. So, it's worth checking out.
The subject came up again last night. One of my leaders and I had a conversation about what we do with sermons. At the end of the day when I delivered two sermons that he'd found really helpful, he was concerned about how we follow this stuff up and ensure that it's not only earthed in people's lives but actually changes the way they live them (albeit incrementally).
I still can't escape the feeling that I'm a Sunday morning and evening entertainer for people with a penchant for the Bible. Wallenmeyer seems to feel the same in his context.
On Tuesday this week I'm beginning a Bible study series on Romans. This is great. There seems to be a real desire for people to study scripture and I am keen to meet that desire and help people engage with it, delving into the context of these fabulous texts, getting an overview of the message and, most importantly, helping people apply it to their daily lives.
This is all good. but I'm still fearful that we engage in information overload in our churches. We offer chunky gobbets of stuff each week and yet very little opportunity for people to work out what to do with it. It's like inviting people to visit a gourmet restaurant every day, making them eat a substantial slab of the menu and not give them the opportunity to exercise before we do it again.
The thing is that this isn't making disciples. It's making people who consume church stuff, judging what they get each week against the standards of the best teaching they've heard both in our church and elsewhere, opting in and out of programmes on the basis of whether they like the sound of it.
As Wallenmeyer points out, we're doing church better than we've ever done before in terms of the offer we're making - nice environment, lively music, great child-care, good coffee - and yet we're shrinking as a movement.
There's lots to think about here....