I said yesterday I tended to agree with David Fitch’s assessment that expository preaching isn’t actually helping us faithfully proclaim the gospel, and preaching should never be reduced to three alliterated points from a text and a "take home application" (which way too often implies individualistic application). So what should preaching do, if not simply explaining the Bible and telling people how to "apply" it? This answer is a bit off-the-cuff, but hey, it’s just a blog.
Preaching ought to create new worlds, new possibilities. It should
challenge the principalities and powers of our day (like consumerism,
materialism, and dualism) with the message of Christ’s victory over
them on the cross. It should shake people free of their pre-conceived
notions of God and his kingdom. It ought to pull back the curtain on
God’s new world and make us gasp with astonishment at the audacity of
what God intends to do with us and his world. It should offend and
delight, make us bow our heads in sorrow and raise them in hope, bring
us to our knees in wonder and put us on our feet dancing.
The proclamation of God’s Word should be setting fire to the grandiose
dreams of the young and stoking the embers of the old. It should fill our days with visions of the kingdom come and haunt our nights with dreams of the dead rising and God’s glory covering the earth. It should transform the way we see reality and awaken the idealism we dismissed as… well, "idealistic." Preaching should disturb us and make us itch, it should also be healing to us and a place that we can breathe. It should renew our faith in this God who is writing us into His Story.
So wow, not only is that off-the-cuff, it’s pretty idealistic. But if we don’t aim at something higher, we’re never going to rise above our current state.