The reason we have so many bored-out-of-their-gourd Christians is because after so many years, they have heard a majority of what there is to hear from our preaching and have become passive pew-sitters. The reticular activators in their brains literally screen out things we say that they've heard numerous times before. They are, in many ways, neurologically confined by their previous spiritual experiences. Some hop churches for something else while others stay to become self-appointed pastor critics. We're not sure which we like least.

Ray Ortlund was one of my Path Finders early in my ministry. One day we asked him, "Ray, why do you do this? You're officially retired and we don't pay you to meet with us as you do." Ray said, "Because I need it." At the time, I chalked it up to Ray's humility; but I later learned what he meant. He needed to serve as a Path Finder for others, not because he'd arrived but as a means to help him continue on his journey.

Most Christians pull off on the side of the road on their trips. They're still on the road, technically; but they've stopped progressing. They add one more sermon, one more ministry event, one more Bible study to their spiritual portfolio; but they'll never become spiritually intelligent.

Striving to provide top-drawer preaching and teaching is an important responsibility of pastors; but thanks to technology, the finest in sermons and orators are now available, 24/7 via the Internet, iTunes downloads, DVDs and cable programming.

The main purpose of the local church is to create a structure by which parishioners can grow their souls via the methods Jesus used with His followers. If you want to see significantly improved, long-term results from your preaching, consider how you can improve the soil conditions. While it is not traditionally what pastors and churches do today, it is required for our people to become spiritually intelligent.