“Take it or Leave it” Relevance in Preaching

walking away againAnother approach to relevance in preaching is to present a “take it or leave it” approach. Here the preacher instead of simply saying the truth is relevant, as in the brute force method, the preacher assumes it is relevant by stating “here is the truth.” In fact relevance is not dealt with. The preacher takes a posture like “Here is the truth, what you do with it is on you.” The preacher often assumes that it is now up to the people. He or she has done the job and now must leave it to the people.

We often hear preachers say things like “God said it, I believe it, that settles it!” OR “God said it, I didn’t!” This kidn of verbiage promotes a kind of preaching that does not allow the truth to touch the ground. The truth need not come to terms with real life. In fact, there is nothing to keep the truths from being irrelevant. Simply put, just becuase “God said it” does not mean that I know how to fulfill what God said or even understand what God said. In short, “God said it” is not enough if we are seeking relevant preaching. When presented so unappetizingly, many when given the choice to “take it or leave it” will simply leave it.



Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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One comment on ““Take it or Leave it” Relevance in Preaching
  1. Roger B. Abuloc says:

    Again, this is sending relevant message by intimidation. With a newly convert Christian, it is our duty as preacher and church worker to nurture the spiritual being of that person. We should explain the reason of that statement, “Take it or leave it.” Otherwise, most people would tend to give a “leave it” posture.

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Revised Common Lectionary
Proper 14 (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
  • Psalm: Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b
  • Epistle: Romans 10:5-15
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
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