I have by now given seminars about the Bible all over the world. Upon a wide sampling of my audience, I have come to one conclusion. The preacher influences how the audience thinks. I think this may seem obvious, but many may not see its implications.
When I get invited to speak in different churches or organizations, I try to research about the sponsoring body so that I can tell what kind of teaching the people are used to. I would listen to sermons preached in such churches to get a sense of what the church is about. What I find is consistent. The churches that have strong pulpits tend to have a more informed audience. The ones with preachers who fly by the seat of their pants do not. The former group tends to ask intelligent questions in the Q and A time. The latter group tends to ask question that indicates serious gaps in its intellectual development. And this has nothing to do with church size at all.
This leads to my conclusion that the preacher makes the church, but then I began to dig a bit deeper when I start to talk to many pastors who invite me. Some who invite me aren’t at all satisfied with their church. They have trouble with the church and its members and so on. Others thoroughly enjoy their pastoral experience. This leads me to another question for which I have no answer. Does the church make the pastor or the pastor makes the church? I honestly do not know, but I do know that the preacher does influence the way his audience think. So, be careful how you preach.