Preaching on Preaching
I spent some time yesterday talking about the “primacy of preaching” in the life of the church. Preaching gets a bad wrap these days. It’s not uncommon to hear people say things like, “I don’t want to be preached to…,” or “Don’t preach to me…,” etc. Even within Christian circles, the art of preaching has been accused by some of being an outdated form. “Preaching had its day, but today there are better ways to communicate truth to God’s people,” is the way it is usually presented. We are told that people have short attention spans today and that we just don’t want to sit and listen to somebody talk to us for 30+ minutes.
Then you have others such as George Barna and Frank Viola in their book, Pagan Christianity, that claim that the role of “professional” preacher is pagan in its origins and that the early church never had such a role in its structure. They, instead, would advocate for a home church model where everyone sits around taking turns speaking or “preaching” as they feel led.
Let me say as a “preacher” that preaching truly is an art. Bad preaching is always outdated. And nobody wants to sit for any length of time and listen to bad preacher. That said, the art of preaching is biblical in its origin. As part of my current preaching series on 1 and 2 Peter, we looked yesterday at 1 Peter 1:12 which speaks specifically about the primacy of preaching in the church. I have gleaned the following thoughts about preaching’s role and what makes for good preaching:
1. Preaching is Holy Spirit led. It is a divine activity. Annual minister manuals that include 52 weeks of sermons (yes, there are such things) fly in the face of biblical preaching. Every church is different and every church requires the Holy Spirit to guide the preacher towards the content for that particular church.
2. Preaching involves the Good News. The “Good News” is a term of victory after battle. Every sermon ought to proclaim the Good News or it is not preaching. The Good News is THE central component of biblical preaching.
3. Preaching always comes from God’s Word (Bible), not man’s word. Sermons that do not use the Bible or that only give minor usage to 1 or 2 verses slip away from being sermons delivered by a preacher and become speeches delivered by an orator.
4. Preaching is something that happens uniquely in a church. When God’s people come together corporately, preaching ought to occur. Preaching should define the church. Just as the Good News ought to define the preaching.
5. Preaching is the envy of the angels. It is interesting that we tend to take for granted what angels LONG to sit under. Preaching should be longed for, not loathed. When was the last time you changed your weekend plans because you had to make it for the sermon?
Once again, let me say that bad preaching is always out of style. But great preaching draws people, it captivates people, it changes people. You should insist on great preaching! And as a “preacher” I’m allowed to say that:)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a sermon to go prepare…