Is Preaching Everything?
I recently had a conversation with a pastor who was developing some training material for pastors in Africa. He had asked me to review the material, and when I asked him why there was such a low emphasis on preaching, he said to me, “I don’t buy into this ‘preaching is everything’ mentality.”
He went on to explain that some pastors act as if all one needs to do is preach and teach the Bible to grow a congregation in a healthy way. He believed there were more important priorities that pastors need to focus on, such as fellowship and evangelism.
As he was still looking for feedback from me, I had three responses:
1) First, I don’t know of any pastor who only preaches and teaches the Bible. All Christians should engage in fellowship and evangelism. Since pastors are Christians, they should naturally be involved in activities that all Christians are called to do.
2) Second, there is a severe underemphasis today on the importance of preaching the Word. Preaching and teaching are essential shepherding activities.
If someone says their pastor is a good pastor but he is not a good preacher they don’t have a right understanding of what pastoring involves. A pastor is a shepherd of people. If a literal shepherd of sheep nurtured his sheep, hugged them, combed their wool, protected them from wolves, but never fed them – would anyone think that he was a good shepherd? How is it that we could think a pastor who does not feed his flock well from the Word is adequately doing his job?
3) Third, the phrase “preaching is everything” can be helpful because it reminds pastors of their God-given responsibility to faithfully proclaim the Word of God. However, for those uncomfortable with that phrase, perhaps they could at least embrace this one instead:
Preaching affects everything.
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SOURCE: The Master’s Seminary