Ivory-Tower-IllustrationAs a pastor, I find it t’s easy to pour through theological books and articles during the week.  I love them.

If you’re like me you’re not a fan of simple practical canned pastoral monologues concerning the text from which you’re preparing to preach. That’s too easy and it can easily lead to parroting.

How can a guy like me “read from the rich but preach to the poor” so to speak?

How can a pastor turn something Shakespeare said into something you might hear from a country song or read on Facebook?

I am NOT a great preacher… Not by a long shot! I would consider myself a bit more skilled as a pastoral, relational conversational kind of communicator.

I would also consider myself a mere fan of theology sitting in the cheap seats as a front-line trench practitioner of the Academy’s sometimes often otherworldly language.

So having said all that I want to share with you three questions that help me climb off of the ivory tower and down to the unruly streets of the real world. I explain this process to my friends as “trickle down theonomics” pretty much just because it sounds cool.

I believe theology produced by theologians in an environment un-taxed from the demands of  pastoral ministry is a huge necessity and commodity to the church. Much like the benefits the laboratory brings to our small town doctor.

At the end of your reading and study you should be ready for the “Application” portion of your sermon. I like to stew on these three questions after my time of discovery in the text.

1. How can this passage and it’s message engage the minds of the people in our congregation to think?

2. How can this passage and it’s message lead the hearts of the people in our congregation to love?

3.  How can this passage and it’s message equip the hands of the people in our congregation to serve?

And that’s pretty much it.

Now you can maintain some depth in your study and even in your presentation of the text as long as you end with at least 75% of it having purposefully and thoughtfully trickled down from laboratory to the family doctor.

From the Academy to the congregation.

From the head to the heart and all the way down to the hands.

I think this will also help give your congregation a love for theology and the people who spend their lives spilling ink over its many contexts.