Faithful pastoral ministry looks like a man being committed to do two things for a very long time, regardless of the results he can see. First, he must exegete the Scripture. Second, he must exegete the culture of the congregation. The first of these comes naturally to some, but most of us have to work/pray/fail/succeed on this throughout a lifetime in ministry. The second comes to most of us through a lot of deep thought/prayer concerning the condition of our congregations. Here are some questions to guide this twofold process.
- What are the cultural idols that are particularly attractive to my people?
- Where do they tend to buy into an unbiblical world with its accompanying hopes and dreams?
- Are there themes of spiritual struggle in this text that I need to speak to?
- How do they tend to get discouraged and need the hope of the gospel in this text?
- What is the level of their biblical literacy and theological knowledge?
- How many of them are actively involved in service, and how many are “ecclesiastical consumers”?
- What do they tend to struggle with in the workplace?
- What do they wrestle with at home?
- What are they reading, watching, and listening to and how are they influenced by it?
In every text you preach, different answers to these questions will come. When they rise to the surface, answer them from that text. Pastor, be faithful.