What is Preaching?

Ihave been chewing on the question, what is preaching, for a while. Is preaching simply teaching people about the Bible or giving an inspirational message, or is it more than that?

This isn’t an exhaustive discussion on the nature of preaching, of course, but I’ve been thinking about preaching as communicating, proclaiming (i.e., good news), teaching, farming (breaking up, planting seeds, watering, etc.), leading, vision-casting, and even battling (i.e., spiritual warfare).

I preach using sermon series and I’ve always tended to think/plan in terms of two major categories: (1) church/mission and (2) spiritual growth/formation. But as I understand it, Adam Hamilton uses five types of sermon series that he works through over time …

  1. Fishing series, to attract/connect with unchurched people
  2. Discipleship series, to help people grow spiritually
  3. Pastoral Care series, to provide biblical counseling
  4. Equipping series, to offer ministry development/training
  5. Strengthening series, to focus on vision

Preaching is important because God’s Word is crucial in the life of the church!

I love the quote in my recent post, Favorite Tweets 1.0

The only reason to give a speech is to change the world. (Nick Morgan)

I was also challenged by the quote by A.W. Tozer …

Any sermon that is not birthed in prayer is not a message from God no matter how learned the preacher.

I think of the prophet Jeremiah who felt as if God’s message was a fire in his bones, or the prophet Ezekiel who spoke to a valley of dry bones that came back to life again!

What if every preacher had that sense of urgency? (Ah, I think I need to add “urgency” to my Desperate Preachers Prayer Guide.) What would happen if changing the world and awakening lost/lukewarm souls was the purpose of every sermon and the goal of every preacher?

That’s what John Wesley, who said the following, longed for …

Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergy[persons] or lay[persons]; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth.

If you’re a preacher, (in addition to prayer and reading God’s Word) how do you gain/maintain a sense of urgency in preaching?

2 thoughts on “What is Preaching?”

  1. My parishioners have taught me about the importance of preaching in their lives — they want quality sermons, and knowing this helps motivate me in preparing them. Looking at Hamilton’s categories, I see most of my sermons fall into #2 and #3. Thanks for the ideas on broading out the themes.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Chris.

    I think most of us have our strengths/passions, areas we tend to focus on most. The challenge, as you say, is broadening out the themes.


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