There’s a story, probably apocryphal, about a professor at an Ivy League university – Harvard? Yale? – who asks some of the brightest and best students on the planet “What’s in an apple pie?”\r\n\r\nThe students didn’t want to be thought dumb so they shouted out:\r\n\r\n“Cinnamon” … “Raisins” … “Nutmeg” … “Sugar” … “Butter” (clever one that, because you can only infer there’s butter because there’s pastry: you can’t see the butter: very clever).\r\n\r\nNo one shouted out …\r\n\r\n… “Apples”. \r\n\r\nThat story came to mind when I thought back over a conversation held in a hospital room last week with the pastor of a large growing church. Now in his 80th year and still ministering every week, this pastor was musing about what the future held, about perhaps taking over a dysfunctional church and turning it around. A new challenge.\r\n\r\nThere was definitely a glint in the eye. At his age (79), he said, with somewhat lower energy levels, if he was to leave his church now he reckoned he could turn a problem church around in two years.\r\n\r\nMaybe three.\r\n\r\n”How?” I asked, “What would you do?”\r\n\r\n”Preach” he said.\r\n\r\nOK, he’s possibly in the top five preachers I’ve ever heard … in the world, that is. But even so!\r\n\r\nBut then I thought that I don’t know of any growing, confident, theologically literate church where there isn’t … great preaching.\r\n\r\nSo to fill in the blanks in life’s comprehension test, what this pastor was saying was this:\r\n
Preaching is to Church as Apples are to Apple Pie
\r\nI don’t think that’s the whole story, but it’s definitely worth talking about.