I grew up in a tradition where preaching was highly valued, so much so that a call to ministry was commonly described as a “call to preach.” As I began processing God’s call on my own life, I naturally focused on preaching above everything else.
Interestingly, two years into my ministry journey, during my senior year of college (in a B.A. in Ministry program), I discovered John Maxwell, who at the time, was just beginning to gain notoriety as an expert on leadership. For the next 15+ years of my life, my primary focus was on growing as a Christ-following leader (I’ll write more about my leadership journey in a follow-up post).
In the process of focusing on leadership (partly because I tend to have a one-track mind), preaching took a back seat to leadership. While preaching was something I would do every weekend as a pastor, it became secondary to being a leader. In a sense, I saw leadership and preaching as competing responsibilities.
Interestingly, during my doctor of ministry program at Asbury Theological Seminary (where my concentration was Christian Leadership), my passion for preaching was reawakened (thanks, in large part to discovering one-point preaching). In fact, my dissertation project sought to unite these two passions/giftings into a single focus (I used the term “leader-communicator” in the title of my dissertation to refer to my desire to unite these passions).
Preaching is important for a number of reasons. It is particularly important from a leadership perspective. Recently, while praying, I described it this way …
“Preaching is important because it shapes the environment in which I lead!”
Preaching shapes the environment, the culture of the church. The stronger (i.e., more biblical, more missional, etc.) the organization, the more effective and fruitful it will be. If preaching isn’t creating an environment where God can work, where the mission can move forward, leadership becomes so much more challenging.
Preaching — casting God’s vision for life and mission — shapes the environment in which I lead, and therefore, is vitally important to Christ-following leader-communicators!