(#4) Preaching as the Experience of Mundane Glory – Paul House

Well I think I speak for all of us, Dr. Taylor, we say thank you for organizing this and Hayden and everybody who had a part in this these four weeks, we certainly do appreciate it I’m gonna read a passage from 1 Peter 4 that my friend Phillip Jensen often reads when he’s asked to talk about preaching 1 Peter 4:7 is about all the gifts of God’s people “When the end of all things is at hand, therefore be self-controlled and sober minded for the sake of your prayers Above all, keep loving one another sincerely since love covers a multitude of sins Show hospitality to one another without grumbling As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ Amen.” Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God I believe that preaching is actually the experience of mundane glory Nic Seaborn and I were talking about the other day, mundane glory Mundane because the task keeps going over and over again, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade It is mundane in the sense that it will continue It’s glorious in the sense of what the call is Amerson uses this phrase, “the inexhaustible ordinary.” I think that’s also a phrase you could use for a lot of things, but “the inexhaustible ordinary” does fit preaching as application Or as Marilynne Robinson speaks of it, “the givenness of things,” given to us by God, the things, of course, but the ongoing, as Calvin would call it, “The Dazzling Theater of Life.” So I want to stress, frankly, the mundane and the glorious, and I also want to encourage you in some ways One — and I don’t know with Hunter Twitty, our friend who’s serving at Third Presbyterian downtown I’m quoting him and he may have been quoting someone else — but as you think about your preaching, this mundane glory, “God gives variety, Satan gives comparison.” So you can learn from other people, but if you’re going to compare yourself to others for glory or for shame, I think that’s fruitless I want to tell you a little bit about my journey, and this will maybe help you when you have the questions I was called to preach August 23rd, 1970 in a community that expected you to be grown and act like it at 18 For our grandparents only had 8 grades available to them, so they thought that our adolescence was being extended far enough, thank you very much 14 having been the age that my parents that our parents had basically gone to high school Our older siblings were thinking about being drafted to Vietnam Armstead can tell you about that some other time What’s that like? These were serious times, and so it was not — nobody patted me on the head and said “Oh, God’s called you to preach, there, there little fella.” So I was in Junior High School, and our church had never, in its history from 1866 on had anyone called to preach out of its membership I realize now that it’s a condemnation on the history of the church, and it explained a lot of their behavior, but it was good for me because there weren’t 5 people standing in line ahead of me! So they could use me When I got a driver’s license while I was in high school, I was called upon to preach in rural churches from which I was from, Southern Baptist background, 37 churches in the association,

9 of them without pastors that summer, and the director of mission would call up often late Wednesday night after the people would come to church and say “Hey, we don’t have a preacher for Sunday!” and he would call up and send me somewhere He was a big supporter of young preachers In those days I was trying to figure out how to preach a once only sermon To have enough to say to fill a respectable 20 to 30 minutes, and that meant throwing the kitchen sink if you had to “7 Great Miracles of the Bible.” [laughter] “The Entire Doctrine of this or that,” you know, doing whatever you could do, and watching the models and trying to figure it out Then I figured out that I was also learning to preach once only several places You hone this one sermon you’ve been working on because you can preach it 5 places When I was a senior in high school, the director of missions decided I should be the pastor of a church, if you use “pastor” and “church” both loosely [laughter] But he said, “You’ve been preaching thereabouts for the last couple of years, you should learn to preach to the same congregation every week One sermon, once a week, to the same group.” Well that was a different kettle of fish because they had ostensibly heard what you said last week [laughter] And there’s always, by the time you think no one remembers, there is somebody who will Once only, once only several places once a week And then in college called to a church near where I was from and within proximity of the college I was attending, twice a week: Sunday morning and Sunday night Twice a week every week I often laugh and students say, “Well, were you ever trying to preach and pastor while you were in school?” I always say, “Well not in Junior High School, but after that, yeah.” That, too, was interesting Seminary, I was called to a church that was three times a week: Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night every week See, now this is where a lot of you are going, this will help you see where I’m coming from When I was teaching at Taylor University, I pastored a church where it was three times a week plus 12 hours of lecturing a week, so I’m speaking 15 times a week What I learned doing that was, you have Old Testament Intro at 8 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and 11 o’clock, when the congregation or the audience changes, it will affect how you deliver the same material So what I learned there was what they’re like at 8 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and 11 o’clock, I started learning a lot more about watching who I was speaking to Very helpful Exhausting, but very helpful Now going down the line to where my current responsibilities: During the semester requires me to speak at Briarwood Presbyterian Church to a Sunday school class usually of 80-100 people, so it’s more sermonic, and a Bible study, 15 or 20, depends on the week, but grows out of that Sunday school class Yanic addressed them last night, I hear he did a really good job Got a good outline, and I like that So what you have on the handout is what I did last week with this group, and I’ll explain how I planned that, if you want, and it’s blank on the other side so you can take any notes you wish So this is by “Background,” “What was helpful in that background?” A couple of things, one, when I was called to preach my dad brought two new Bibles home and said “If you’re going to be a preacher” — and that was always the term — “if you’re going to be a preacher, you must preach from the Bible.” I wish my dad had told more people that And the second thing, is that you need to read it every day

And here’s a new Schofield Reference Bible, and a New English Bible, and I’ve been bouncing between Dispensationalism and Anglicanism ever since [laughter] I keep those Bibles on my shelf at home because I figured I could read 5 chapters a day, and I did for years And still, unless something’s gone wrong or there’s an unusual thing in our schedule, the first thing I will do now will be to get up and read the scripture I live in a household where that’s possible When I was growing up, and even in high school, that was the last thing I did before I went to sleep, 30-40 minutes So, I think you commit to that because you need it, you need to grow, and because preachers should preach from the Bible you should read it every day I already talked to you about how I learned some audience things A great blessing to me when I was in college, I majored in Biblical studies which was hard enough, really, they let too many people off the hook, but I took 2 years of Greek, and so I was doing that, I was also doing an English major, and so one way or the other, I was reading the original languages and thinking about them through the hermeneutical lens of literary states Then I did a Masters in English and because I did Greek in college, and much to my mother’s dismay, the college I went to, she could not believe that they would hand out a Bachelor’s degree and not make you learn Hebrew, she gasped at that, and was grateful I was paying my own tuition then But seminary I had much more with Hebrew because I wanted to know the text from the ground up as much as I could know about it but I’m still reading it through these literary lenses I just have to say, most of the hermeneutics I ever had came from that So through the years, then, I’ve had these different preaching assignments consistently and so forth, and I’ve learned different things I want to stress some of them and then go to a model to recommend to you Having heard some of your questions in the last few weeks and thinking about them, I want to say — hopefully this is encouraging to you — first of all, not everything is up to the sermon Doug mentioned this the other day, and you say “Well what if this is going on, and you want to address it And you say, ‘Well, you do have the pastoral prayer.'” Remember, you are part of a service of worship, more than that, you are part of a Christian service of worship and the Bible was written for believers, not unbelievers, and we’re inviting people to our family, but we have hopefully sung Christian songs that have Christian content If we’ve confessed our faith through some creed or confession, the Apostles’ creed or something else, if we have prayed to the living God in the name of Jesus, if we have done all these things, everything does not depend on the sermon You do not — It should not cover every possible subject in every possible sermon because you cannot do so So it’s not all up to the sermon; it’s certainly not all up to the one sermon that a lot of you are being asked to preach somewhere So take the pressure off yourself The world does not rise and fall on any one message, and God knows that Third, this is a lifestyle and a skill Back to mundane glory You cannot reach fever pitch to preach four times a week You can’t do it I remember when a famous basketball player moved from college to pros he said, well, he didn’t think he could get up for 82 games, maybe only 70 Well later on he learned he can’t get up for 70 either, it’s a consistent pattern, a mundane glory Reading the Bible and praying, that’s just part of your life, it’s part of your family’s life, it’s part of your lifestyle as you work on this skill

Or as I heard the musician Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates say in an interview, so what do you say to most musicians, he said “I’d about say it to anybody: “Be tough, be strong, and learn your craft.” And he said “That’s what I’m still doing.” He’s 68 years old It’s a lifestyle and a skill It’s not catching lightning in a bottle, it’s walking a long path, it’s a body of work And what this means is, you will trust the text that God gave Because now we’ve got to the part where, “What is your job?” I am greatly impressed, and re-read it on an airplane two days ago, “The Work of the Pastor” by William Still And he opens the book up by saying: “Before we look at the work of the pastor, we must look at the pastor himself The pastor by definition is a shepherd.” A lot of you don’t know what in the world that means I wrote a little piece on The Gospel Coalition about that, about my grandfather and a book I was reviewing, but… “the other shepherd of a flock of God The primary task is to feed the flock by leading them to green pastures Has to care for them when they’re sick or hurt, seek them when they go astray The importance of the pastor depends on the value of the sheep.” He said, “I’ll pursue it farther Israel’s sheep were reared, fed, tended, retrieved, healed, and restored They were sacrificed on the altar of God This end of pastoral work must never be forgotten It’s ultimate aid is to lead God’s people to offer themselves up to him in total devotion of worship and service.” How do you feed the sheep? On the word of God Still, it was interesting because he gathered a congregation in 1945, right after World War II was ending, and he did it by working with a new organization called “Youth for Christ,” and in part through a young evangelist who had come to Scotland, pretty much unknown, but he had come to spend most of the year in Britain, his name was Billy Graham, and they built up a congregation of new Christians, but also a bunch of onlooking other Christians who liked to watch evangelistic meetings And part of his story is how that crowd fled when he started teaching the Bible to feed the sheep, to build them up, to equip them for ministry, to equip them to be good parents, good community members and to serve the Lord by teaching the Bible systematically, book by book, passage by passage in different doses and different books, and it was interesting, he said, to see how some of the people who loved evangelism he said in part because they liked to look down on sinners, how they fled from a ministry of the Word There’s another time, 20 years later, having built up the congregation, he thought that the church needed a new pastor and the Lord said “Yes, and you must be that pastor.” So once again they gathered the crowd by doing the evangelism and then starting to teach What is the mundane glory? You will come to a text and you will know what the book that that text is in, is about, you will know the structure of that book, you will know where this text fits in so that you would know it in context, and then you would study to know the audience of the book and compare it to your audience because Calvin is right so many times and he’s right about the following: “God never changes, neither do people.” They really don’t The same sorts of sorrows, the same sorts of troubles, the same sorts of things Situations can change, but again, people will be people as long as there are people So all that boring stuff, why in the world do they want us to go into the background, figure out who this book was written to and what was their situation, because you want to draw an audience profile and then draw one for the people you’re facing, because the text of scripture is what merges the past and the present of all the people who stand

before the throne of God There will not be a direct analogy for every point, but to the extent that you can know the audience you should, and I would say these things about knowing the audience, the current audience I want to know as much as I can, particularly if I going to speak to them once or twice I’ve gotten to know the congregation that I talk to now pretty well But here are the kinds I think, there’s different ways of dividing audience’s thinking Well, there are people who are believers and those who are not What you’re about to say is going to affect them differently depending on whether they’re one or the other Are they really dye-in-the-wool committed Christians or are they just happy enough to get to heaven the way they’re headed So, what difference does that make? Well, the committed ones are the ones that God wants, they’re also the ones who are going to do service for God, and so you really want as many as you can So your exhortation, your encouragement is going to sound different to one or to the other Then, of course, if you have a multi-aged congregation, it doesn’t hurt to know how what you’re saying would affect a kid in grade school, junior high, high school, college, young professionals, middle-aged people I’m now about to get out of my comfort zone, or to senior adults or to really old senior adults What are the issues, how would that affect These days, I don’t have a real congregation in the sense that I am not responsible for all their spiritual development and knowing all there is to know about them I once had a seminary professor who said, “Well, you know our job is the same as pastors’,” and I just took due note that he had never been a pastor I care about you, but I don’t believe I’m not doing my job by not knowing the spiritual condition of your spouse’s children, extended family members It doesn’t hurt as another Christian to know those things, but as a pastor I’m responsible for those things? I was definitely more responsible, as a pastor, for the people I speak to I want to know those things, because I want to know how this truth will form their lives at this point in their different lives What’s their financial situation, what’s their theological position See, after awhile you’re going to say “I’ve got more that I can use on application.” Well, that’s about right, yeah That’s the goal And what I really want to know is in the text which is speaking originally to some other people, what is it saying to them? Because I believe that’s what it’s saying to us, the types of life and hitting us in these areas of life and so forth, because I definitely believe, as Gordon Fee and Doug Stuart wrote, “A text cannot mean what it never meant.” And I would say it doesn’t have to if we know what’s going on in the text And the fact that I don’t know what’s going on in the text doesn’t mean nobody knows what’s going on in the text So I will then say for a sermon — I prefer, then, to preach through sections of scripture, sometimes the whole book, sometimes just sections of one I want to know how many times I’m going to be preaching on this, I want to know how much time I have to speak, and then I always want to know where does this passage begin and end as I’m choosing it, and then I want to know what is the biblical structure of the passage, because that becomes the structure of the outline of the sermon If it’s a praise, I want to preach it like a praise; if it’s a lament, I want to preach it like a lament; if it’s a narrative, I want to follow the logic of the narrative; if it’s an epistle, I want to do that, too And so again, this is where I guess my English background comes in Can you write a 5 paragraph essay on what you’re talking about? So my outline will have the main point and the verses that go with it, sub-points and the verses that go with it Because what I want to see is the logic of it and walk through it and always asking myself, “How can this part of the sermon shape a life that’s in front of me?” And if I don’t know the audience at all, but I do know their ages, I will go with what is generally the need of those age groups

I’m going to try to lean on knowing something about the audience, not because I’m chaining the truth of the message or even the content of the message, but what the content can do for the people in front of me So how can that shape them? So once I think I have the structure, I believe I have a sermon outline, I can’t tell you why it is that sometimes I can’t see the structure or the logic of it, and sometimes if in the Bible it’s just all one piece, then these days I will take the risk of going ahead and doing that Let the text be the text, work on it and go But without the ability to say “The sermon’s about this, this is what I’m trying to get done,” it’s pretty hard to preach But if you’re going to speak 3 or 4 times a week, then you’re going to have to be able to come to the passage where you understand this is where the passage is, this is where the sections end, this is how the structure unfolds, this is the type of literature, and as it speaks to these people, it will speak to people now if I understand both audiences The text will join all of that So those are some of the basics How do I use commentaries? These days, if I’m preparing new material, I’m doing it in the midst of everything else you see me doing around here “Well what would that be?” [laughter] By general condition, enough to wear me out So I want something, if I sit down to work on the message, I want something like the Tyndale Old Testament commentary series first Depending on the week, that may be all I can do The Tyndale Old Testament series — and by the way, I am really, more than most people, like the early Christians because I am hardly ever asked or allowed to preach on the New Testament [laughter] I really believe 2 Timothy 3:14-17, really do believe it So what does Tyndale do for you? Keeps you from looking foolish in public [laughter] Gives you basic structure If you can’t figure it out it helps you know it’s this kind of text, and here’s kind of how the verses flow, here’s kind of the logic and major character that’s in it If you don’t know who Nebuchadnezzar is, this’ll help you out Most of these are just short books, about like that Next, to get more details if I still need them or have time for them, I am going to read something like the New International Commentary of the Old Testament, or the New American Commentary if it’s a good one Why? Well that steps up to telling me more concepts, doing more work, and filling in some gaps so that I’m actually telling them something they wouldn’t know simply by owning a study Bible I want to inform a little bit If you preach the Old Testament, it doesn’t take much, they usually don’t know much about it, so you help them with that To then to drill down for myself to learn as much as I can, then I go down to a Hebrew-based commentary Because I want the details My mind thinks going from the broad to the narrow If your mind works the other way, do that, then But I’m not looking particularly for syntax, except I’m looking where the turn of the phrase is so that I’m looking for purpose clauses, I’m looking for things like that that’ll help me see the structure, but I’m also looking for the odd word I mean, I don’t know all that Doug Webster means when he says he’s looking for the tension in the text, I guess that’s one of the great things about him, but when I see a Hebrew word now that’s not used all that much or it’s different than I thought it was, if it can bring some meaning and enlightenment to the text, that’s what I’m looking for But you have to know some Hebrew, which is what we’re hoping for I know it shocks you because you think every seminary in America has at least 2 years of Hebrew, I am very sorry to inform you that you are going to be some of the experts now Some seminaries offer one semester of language, that’ll do ’em So does it surprise you when you say, “Oh, I don’t use my Greek anymore, I don’t find it very useful.” You didn’t have any Greek!

I don’t use my French anymore, either [laughter] I never had much, one semester of theological French On a good day I can basically speak Spanish on a good day, because I once learned it I was once pretty fluent Can you do this without the biblical language? You can preach without knowing how to read [laughter] It’s a good thing, too, we’re Christians, we need a miracle But I think you’re better if you can read I’ve never walked around in my ministry saying, “You know, I’ve got lots of useless information, I don’t know what I’m gonna do with all this.” There’s just too much I don’t know That’s how I use commentaries You don’t just go scramble for ’em And you know the commentaries won’t help you with application because they don’t have your audience They can help you with the first audience but they can’t help you with the one in front of you, you gotta do that, you gotta know those, and you gotta draw the comparisons So that’s kind of the way I work, and I want an outline and I usually have enough to say I was reminded last Sunday, that you learn to roll with things, because the sound system was messed up in a class that you have to have a sound system Hadn’t happened in years, but it was all messed up and they couldn’t figure it out, it was bothering everybody, and just had to figure out how to do that that day That affected how I was thinking and everything else You always still have to roll with it, that was my method, and if you take a look at the handout you’ll see that as I planned it I was teaching through Isaiah, I did backtrack in my teaching of post-Isaiah 36 text because I had done Isaiah 52 and 53 the week before, and then Easter week I did 25 It is a psalm of Thanksgiving, it falls into 3 parts, and I began to work with it In the days when I was trying to preach once I could not have done it I couldn’t have figured out what was in Isaiah so I hope to know more later, but I certainly know more than I used to, and it’s such a comfort and encouragement I still read other peoples’ sermons, but I’ve also learned this: Mark helpfully mentioned Calvin and the difference between someone’s commentaries and sermons Remember this: Calvin didn’t write very many biblical commentaries Most of what we know of his commentaries are lectures he gave to students transcribed followed by beautiful prayers that pulls the whole thing together for application And then he has these sermons And once he had studied the Bible, taught the Bible, commented on the Bible, preached the Bible, he revised the Institutes It did not go the other way Anyway, enough on all that So for instance, I like Martyn Lloyd-Jones quite a bit I once heard somebody say, “You can’t spend 13 years preaching through Romans on Sunday morning!” I thought, “Well if he had done that, it wouldn’t have been a bad thing, however that wasn’t what he did.” Those are the Friday night lectures he gave to interested Christians and others who came The sermons that are more teaching like Ephesians and the Sermon on the Mount, those were given on Sunday morning where he assumed there would mainly be Christians, his evangelistic sermons were preached Sunday night when he believed that there would lots of unbelievers that would be brought William Still did not preach through the Bible without fail, he said, well, it’s best if you’re going to do a little bit of Jeremiah, say, chapters 1-10 or something to balance it off in the evening service or however you want to do it with Philippians People can’t take that much woe all at once So when you plan your preaching think about it, the lectionary, which they did a good job talking about, but let me see what your questions are I’ve talked long enough About 10 minutes for questions before everybody has class [off screen] In your preaching and teaching do you see the sermon as a place where you can also helpfully kind of walk your congregation through how we read the Bible? [Dr. House] That’s what I’m trying to do [off screen] Okay, so you could say like we’re in this Old Testament story, this is what we do to understand what God is saying to us, when you’re reading at home this is how we walk through and learn what a text means [Dr. House] Yeah you can tell them that, and for the ones that are there, they’ll hear it You can put it on your website for those who read it, and as you practice it, they will get the point, and you will find their ability to read the text grow, and as William Still

puts it, you’ll find them solving their own problems more often, now, or helping one another solve their problems biblically, and I believe we need to be as overt as we can and use the weapons that we have to do it and the resources, but one of the reasons to do passage by passage preaching, the way I’m trying to do, is that they will learn to read Now you’ll also keep learning how to read, and you may not say it exactly the way you did 5 years ago That’s alright You’re the pastor God gave them, poor things [laughter] These are the people God gave you You’re gonna grow together, you’re gonna make mistakes together, you’re gonna learn together Yeah Any other? Mark, or somebody else? [Mark] Two quick questions Number one, Dr. House, I’ve sort of from the sidelines always observed your literary interests, now, I think you’re a reader of books, and a reader of fiction I’m curious if there are any ways in which you think that sort of materially impacted the way in which you go about doing your sermonizing, sermon work Question number 1 Question number 2, this is just a curiosity Let’s say early Taylor University Paul House, you’re post-PhD [Dr. House] I remember him [laughter] [Mark] Would you see a sort of difference in the way in which you go about — and this is a broad question — whether the mechanics of the sermon, or the way in which you deliver it, I’m curious about the sort of development of your sermon process through that period of time [Dr. House] The first thing is that I do love literature, and it’s partly why I love the Scriptures I learn more about people as they are from reading novels because I’m learning about people I can’t meet So one of the great things about history, fiction, and that sort of thing, is that you get to meet all sorts of people and types of people, and motives of people, and all these sorts of things that you don’t get otherwise, so, once again I do like it When I look at young House, I appreciate and love him [laughter] I would not be here without him [laughter] But he really hadn’t been exposed to anything like these 4 weeks we’ve just done or the kind of classes you’re getting here, or let me be blunt, the kind of curriculum you’re getting here that actually does have some method to it So I think I’ve read more about preaching and met more expository preachers who helped me connect the dots between scripture and preaching, and people who really lived among their people and cared about them So you see the whole connection I was headed that direction I would defend to the last the people I grew up listening to preach and how they treated me, but a lot of them weren’t great models of taking scripture and handling it well They were doing the best they could Most of them never had the opportunity to have a college or a seminary education I guess I know more than I did and I’m more committed to that model, Mark, and the other thing I’d say is I really do believe, through the intervening years, some of it personal, some of it ministerial, I think I trust God and the Word more And I also know this: it’s a body of work, now I’ve gone from a Revivalist mentality — I’m all for revivals, I mean for evangelistic meetings, but I know now it’s that long, slow walk of a body of work That’s what it’s about So The good news is that most of yours is still to be made and some of mine is [off screen] Dr. House, what little I’ve read or listened to from Dr. Lloyd-Jones, he was very critical about anything that would take time away from the sermon in a worship service You remind us that there’s other parts of a Christian worship service, and I’m wrestling with how long my sermons should be Do you let the text dictate sermon length, or do you have a — if you’re speaking to

a multi-age group and you have children, what are your opinions on that? [Dr. House] My opinion is, the first thing I want to know is, how long do you expect me to speak? Even if it’s a once-off sermon now, because my old joke is “What if the Spirit moves?” The Spirit is not moving in the nursery [laughter] He’s not moving over there Maybe you don’t have a contingency plan if the Spirit does move But Park was talking about how you focus your mind when you’ve got 12-15 minutes I remember when Doug came here he said –he can correct me if I’m wrong on this –but he said something along the lines of he wasn’t used to Southern preaching because it takes them forever to wind up and get started, he said you know, in San Diego you gotta get ’em and go, or — So some of it’s stylistic, but frankly, American minds have been set to a 30 minute television show for as long as I’ve been alive You can push that to 50 minutes in a lecture because they know it’s a lecture and so it’s a little bit different deal and because their minds are set to a 1 hour television set I’ve found an hour and 15 minutes makes classes or anything else difficult So I wanna know, so you say, “Well, gosh I’ve gotta –” You don’t have to do any more than this text does The eternal God who gave you this assignment has everything else in mind One of the things I didn’t — I spoke about the worship service Everything doesn’t rest on you There are other Christians buzzing about, talking about the Lord, raising their kids, reaching out to people, teaching the Bible, I mean it isn’t all on you And that’s why, as you preach the Bible you’ll find all sorts of people being converted to Jesus when you thought you were teaching, and you know, and you say “Well how did that happen? What was there in the sermon that hooked them?” Nothing [laughter] Nothing in that except that you were teaching parents to tell their kids about Jesus the way my parents told me So I want to know how long, I want to use that time wisely, and keep faith with the people who have committed to that if I can Now I’m learning if they slice 7 or 8 minutes off your time, what to do I mean, that’s always a work in progress Lloyd-Jones also did — if you want to read about Lloyd-Jones as a pastor, read the first volume of Ian Murray where he was a pastor in Wales and lived among the people The Westminster chapel in London was a different sort — it’s more like a preaching point than it was a congregation, but read about Wales and you’ll see how he lived with the people But I think he’s right when he insisted — he didn’t want to practice medicine, which he could’ve done, and be a pastor He wanted to focus on what was most necessary as far as he was concerned Yep. [off screen] Dr. House, a question about knowing your audience As a pastor, throughout the week off of the stage, what are questions you ask, places you go, things you do in order to better have an awareness of the audience that you’re preaching to [Dr. House] I want to see my people, I want to know what’s going on with them Some of them will come to you with problems large and small But I confess that I did a lot of pastoring in smaller places As I did some pastoral work in Louisville, for instance, I found that you had to be more intentional about where you’d find your people I think in a church of any size if you’d been to nursing homes, funeral homes, hospitals, you’ve run into a whole lot of your people It doesn’t hurt you to attend youth meetings from time to time, and so forth, so to me it’s about not “What’s my strategy,” but “How do I live naturally with my people, not apart from them.” And so if I had to do over again I’d do what I’m doing now, too, I’d ask a lot of people what’s it like to be — when I was in my 20’s –what’s it like to be 35, have 2 kids in high school, tell me? What’s it like to be 80? From the right people, and they’ll tell you Talk to trusted people and they’ll start And read what you can about different phases of life and what people are going through

And so just know your people And I always love, every time I see an age specific church, I saw one in Louisville back about a year and a half ago They were all dressed alike, there were 600 or 700 of them, all the men wear pork pie hats, all the women dressed a certain way, and my heart bled because I thought “Oh, you’re gonna get older, now.” There were only, like, 2 children in the whole place, 600 of them all the same age, Oh I have to become more compassionate You’re going to get older, you’re already not cool, you just don’t know it yet, and you’re going to need all ages, you’re going to need to talk to people who older One of my great griefs is “Ahh I’m running out, my octogenarians are going on me.” So get to know your people, that’s the main thing