Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Harding's New Oglesby Preaching Studio

Harding University has recently added a new state-of-the-art preaching studio. It is a decent sized room, set up much like a contemporary church auditorium. I have personally been really concerned with the shortage of preachers in churches of Christ, though I know the problem isn't unique to us. This new studio was paid for by the Waterview Church of Christ in Richardson, TX, and it is named the Oglesby Preaching Studio in honor of Robert K. Oglesby, a long time minister at their congregation. I appreciate Harding trying to place an emphasis on this important area. It's good to communicate that preaching is something that is cherished and is worth putting resources into. I also commend the Waterview congregation for making this needed area such a priority.

Here is a link to the news article.

Here are some pictures that my dear friend Bruce McLarty, VP of Spiritual Life, sent to me when I asked him about it:


  1. I have been thinking about this issue a lot over the last few months. Eric Brown and I were talking about the young guys we know who have left ministry in the last year or so. The tension in ministry for young guys is tremendous. It is hard to communicate to such a wide audience with such diverse worldviews in any given sermon. It is also difficult trying to be the mediator between the young adults and the elders. It can place ministers in a lot of tension and sometimes results in resignations or firings. This is a subject that needs to be talked about a lot more. The universities can only train those who come to be trained. Our local congregations need to be instilling in the young men that ministry can be a wonderful thing to participate in. Also, many are going into para-church organizations to do ministry rather than congregations and I think very few are actually wanting to preach.

  2. Matt,

    It has been disturbing to me how many strong, solid congregations cannot seem to find preachers (and of several I've seen hired, some of them I wouldn't have expected could get a comparable position--hope that doesn't sound too condescending). A lot of congregations need to be making some concerted efforts at this.

  3. As the one who always has to disagree :) I'll quickly put in a couple cents here. I think the problem is less that there are too few preachers and more that we put too much emphasis on there being a "preacher".
    I do understand the need for someone who has been trained and who has the time to study things more in depth, but at the same time this allows everyone else in the congregation to relegate most of the studying and learning to the preacher who can then just "tell them" the outcome.
    Churches(especially elders) should be pursuing ways of actively pushing the congregation members to study and then share what they've learned back.
    I do know that most of the congregation wouldn't always participate, but I think that it's important to push people. Also, I think the elders should be doing essentially the role of the preacher by default.
    Anyway, I'm not speaking against preachers in general by any means. I'm just saying by always pushing that model of church we also push people into an inactive role.

  4. Tim,

    I think that's very fair. We as a culture have certainly pushed the need to professionalize almost everything, and sometimes we do it at the expense of "normal" people learning to participate and contribute meaningfully. I appreciate your perspective as always, and I think you offer a good counter balance here.