In MY LAST POST we began a short series on the core values of Hilltown Baptist Church, and our hope is that these core values become your core values—not that we would all practice “Biblical Teaching” or be in charge of creating “Authentic Community”, but that we would each have an increasing awareness of and appetite for these things, promoting and participating in them when we see them happening.
The first of those values is Biblical Teaching. This is the fuel to all the rest. We could put all kinds of effort into creating interdependent community or connecting the unconnected, but if we don’t genuinely value God’s word, so much of that effort amounts to little more than behavioral moralism.
Teaching that convicts the heart
The life of the Christian is a life of regular renewal. If you are following Christ, the person you are today will not be the person you are this time next year. And that kind of renewal is realized through a healthy rhythm of conviction, repentance, and obedience.
Here’s the problem: Many of us are used to a spiritual “rice-and-beans” diet—an endless stream of catchy anecdotes and manipulative techniques—rather than the living and powerful Word of God. There is nothing more exhilarating than seeing a life changed by Christ. But no life has been radically changed for glory of God or the good of the kingdom through a pithy quote or witty one-liner. That kind of change only happens through the power of God’s word which is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (HEBREWS 4:12).
Teaching that makes much of Jesus
Our desire at Hilltown is that our teaching isn’t just an intellectual exercise. Instead, in all our teaching we endeavor to show that Jesus is greater than ____, and that Jesus is worth more than ____,
Now, that may seem simple, but I’m not sure it’s always the case within our walls. If people come away thinking more highly of a teacher while not thinking more highly of Jesus, there’s a good chance that teacher has failed. I know it happens at Hilltown sometimes, and I know that because I am guilty of it. As a teacher, I need to regularly evaluate whether I want to use a certain quote or illustration or method because it will make others impressed with me or make others impressed with Jesus.
Teaching that engages culture
We live in a unique and rather beautiful tension within our culture. On one hand, we proclaim a gospel that has the power to reform our culture. On the other hand, our culture shapes the way we proclaim the gospel. So we recognize the fact that it’s impossible to preach a gospel that’s completely devoid of cultural influence, and instead seek to communicate in ways that are relevant, applicable, and transformational within the context that we live.
We certainly don’t want to be the guilty of being “so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good.” Our teaching needs to speak into and impact everyday issues to help our people live fully right where they are.
Our next post will be on A Strong Prayer Base