We are now one month away from the Cutting It Straight Expository Preaching Conference. It will meet September 22-24, 2015, at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville (FL), where I serve as pastor-teacher.
The goal of this conference is to train, model, and promote faithful Bible exposition in preaching and teaching.
What is expositional preaching?
Expositional preaching is essentially preaching in which the point of the sermon is based on and in alignment with the point of the scripture text.
Something drives every sermon. Expository preaching is text-driven preaching. The expository sermon explains the meaning of the text and exhorts the hearer to respond to the truth of the text in repentance, faith, and obedience.
I would say the topical sermon – is the most common sermon today. It starts with a topic and finds a supporting text or texts. The dangers of this method are obvious. Textual sermons focus on the wording of the text. But textual sermons are prone to ignore proper context of the passage.
Authorial intent should govern our interpretation of the text. Expository preaching best guards the preacher against mishandling the word of God. The expository preacher seeks to be a mouthpiece for the text, proclaiming the message of the text faithfully and clearly.
Cutting It Straight is designed to help preachers and teachers “rightly handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) through training in Bible exposition.
Why Cutting It Straight?
There are many good preaching conferences. Cutting It Straight is not in competition with any other conference. I joyfully cheer on the conferences that are helping men preach faithfully, clearly, and better. Yet I believe there is still a famine in the land for lack of biblical preaching. We need more settings where expository preaching is promoted and modeled, not less.
I speak at a lot of preaching conferences each year. It is a great privilege to do so. But at this stage of my life and ministry, I am looking for more ways to resource for preachers without getting on planes. I believe hosting this conference will increasingly be a way for that to happen.
Likewise, Cutting It Straight gives me an opportunity to talk about expository preaching within the context of my doctrinal convictions. I do not believe you can have an honest conversation about biblical preaching without talking about Christian doctrine. Texts force you to have conversations you don’t want to have. You cannot really promote expositional preaching and hide you’re your convictions at the same time.
Hosting Cutting It Straight affords me to talk about faithful preaching and sound doctrine, which go hand-in-hand. In this sense, I accept the fact that Cutting It Straight is not for everyone. But I believe there is a tribe of pastors, teachers, and leaders who will find Cutting It Straight to be a refreshing difference. My prayer is that it will become a family reunion for kindred spirits who love the word of God!
Worship & Arts
I am concerned that there is a great divorce between the pulpit and the choir stand in many churches. But music and preaching should not be conflict or competition. Music in worship should be an extension of the teaching ministry of the church (Colossians 3:16).
Beyond preaching and teaching, this year’s conference will discuss how “cutting it straight” applies to the music ministry of the church. Our Pastor of Worship & Arts, Joe Pace, will lead a worship track that will help attendees plan and lead word-centered worship services that support the pulpit ministry of the church.
Our young people are growing up in critical times. It is important that teenagers learn a biblical worldview that will help them live for Christ in the midst of the cultural confusion around us.
Building up biblically grounded students cannot happen through games, events, and social get-togethers. The young people in youth services need the youth pastor to “cut it straight” just as much as the main assembly does.
In this year’s conference, Our Students Pastor – Cameron Triggs – will lead a special track for youth ministers. It will have breakout sessions about how to evangelize and disciple millennials.
Pray for Cutting It Straight 2015!
I hope to meet you at this year’s conference. But whether you are able to attend or not, please pray for Cutting It Straight. Pray for the speakers who will teach and preach. Pray for our planning and preparation to host this conference. Pray for the several hundred attendees who will come from different parts of the country.
May the go home equipped, challenged, and refreshed as a result of our service to them. And may the Lord raise up an army of faithful preachers and teachers who are determined to cut it straight to the glory of God!