Have you ever reflected on the “strangeness” of preaching? Let’s be honest, how many other settings in our culture involve sitting for 40 minutes listening to someone give a lecture on a topic from a 2000-year-old book?
Certainly, students subject themselves to daily teaching venues, and there is the occasional conference or motivational forum that people in business attend, but when you get down to it, most of those settings are just a means to an end. They are just a formality to achieve a credential and move on to “real” life. The teaching in these settings is just temporary.
Most events that we attend on a regular basis involve some sort of entertainment value. We’ll pay to attend a musical performance, a sporting event, a movie, or a play, but rarely does anyone look forward to a lecture.
Yet, that is exactly what we do regularly as followers of Christ. We set aside time week after week to worship God through the context of teaching. When you stop to think about it, you can’t escape the feeling of “strangeness.”
So, we think it’s worth taking some time to ask the question, “What is the point of preaching?” What do we hope to accomplish in our weekly gathering? And why do we subject ourselves to such “strangeness”?
The simple answer is that we are following the mandate of Scripture which says:
“Preach the word! Be ready in season, and out season! Reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4
We believe that the Bible is God’s supreme authority, sufficient to instruct us in every area of life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and powerful enough to “equip us for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).” We are acquainted with the fact that “the point of preaching is to bring us to the place of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to God,” and that God has historically used preaching to change the hearts of men.
We believe that word of God has inherent power that can transform lives (Romans 1:16), and that throughout the ages God has used preaching as the means of underscoring the simplicity of the message to magnify the power of God in the gospel.
1 Corinthians 2:1–5 (ESV) - 1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Who is instructed to preach?
If preaching is so important, then who is tasked with this vital responsibility? We find part of the answer in Ephesians 4:11-12 which says,
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.”
In God’s master plan for the church, he set aside certain men for the specific ministry of teaching, leading, and equipping the saints. Pastors are meant to preach! That’s why we have chosen to put Pastor David, Pastor Ben, Pastor Sol – and eventually Pastor Kenoyer – before you on a consistent basis so they can carry out their God-given mandate to preach.
But it doesn’t stop there. God has also instructed others to preach.
1 Peter 4:10–11 (ESV) - 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
We have a Biblical responsibility to create opportunities for teaching and preaching for anyone who is gifted in this area. So, we hope to find appropriate venues for teachers to teach. Whether you teach children, adults, large groups, or small groups, we want to discover and utilize your gifts to the glory of God. That is our Biblical mandate!
As a result, we will periodically have gifted men from our congregation preach on a Sunday morning. We believe that this reinforces the diverse gifts of our fellowship, the intrinsic power of the gospel (over and above a particular speaker), our strong commitment to discipleship, and the wonderful freshness of new perspectives.
The fringe benefits of a preaching team.
We believe that this approach to preaching is not only Biblical, but also is full of fringe benefits. Here are just a few:
1. Pastor Andrew will be able to focus his attention on other areas of ministry during the weeks he is not preaching (children’s ministry, student ministry, men’s ministry, visitation, outreach).
2. He will have time to study, pray, and develop our future teaching themes, and put together helpful teaching resources.
3. He will be able to devote extra energy to reading and personal refreshment. A big part of effective preaching is learning!
4. He will have time to think strategically about our ministry.
5. He will be encouraged, challenged, and inspired by other gifted men who faithfully preach the gospel.
6. You will benefit from the faithful preaching of the word presented by godly men with different perspectives.
In Summary: We believe this approach is Biblical and beneficial