To Preach or Not to Preach: That is the Question.
I am tired of all the trash-talk about preaching, especially from preachers. Men who are weary of the work it requires to study, exegete, research, plan, and preach solid expository sermons are opting for “deeper community that really reflects the mission heart of God.” Seriously? You can’t have deep anything in the church unless you have solid preaching of God’s Word. Period.
“In a day when preaching has been junked by some and reduced to a fifteen-minute Dr. Phil karaoke, the centrality, authority, and necessity of preaching must be stressed with great force.”
"Preaching . . . is the scepter by which the heavenly King rules His people." (John Calvin, in his Reply to Sadoleto).
Jesus' ministry included feeding the hungry, healing the sick, loving the outcast, and befriending the sinner. But we must never forget that Jesus' ministry began with preaching. Thus, preaching is the first priority of ministry that leads God's mission, which is accompanied by various other ministries that support, supplement, and sustain the preaching of God's Word in truth with passion.... There is an ongoing debate as to the purpose of the sermon and whether it should focus on converting the lost or maturing the saved. The apparent conflict between preaching for seekers and preaching for believers is resolved simply by noting that both need to repent of sin and trust in Jesus to live a new life empowered by the Spirit. Therefore, a sermon can and should effectively communicate to both audiences, and it will if the preacher is able to go after the root of sin and explain Christian jargon in order to speak the "tongue" of the hearer. This includes saying the name of Jesus and making him known. (Vintage Church, pp. 90, 104)
In an article titled “Is Preaching Still Important Today?” by Dan Garland, he answers the question right out of the starting gate: “Yes!
”Even in today's hyper-techno-driven conversational-wiki-culture, preaching is of the utmost importance. Of the several church-related or pastor-related issues noted by dropouts, preaching came up several times as a critical issue in retaining college students and young adults.
While most think that students are turning off the sermon, tuning into something different, and dropping out of the church, nothing is further from the truth. Students in the church, both high school and college, view the pastor's sermon with a level of importance. They have their eyes on him and what he is saying to them (or not saying to them, for that matter).
It shouldn't surprise you that biblical truth must be conveyed to all age groups, especially through to sermon. But shockingly, students desire for the pastor to preach to them! The problem is not a willingness on their part to listen. Rather, the problem is the fact that the pastor is not engaging them where they are. The charts below reveal how two separate age groups view the importance of their pastor's sermons.
Dr. Ed Stetzer in Planting Missional Churches: Planting a Church That's Biblically Sound and Reaching People in Culture says about preaching
Preaching should both edify believers and encourage nonbelievers. We must grow in our preaching skills if we cannot do both. While Jesus preached a straightforward gospel, he demonstrated that preaching is not just opening the Bible, reading words, and providing commentary.
Stetzer goes on to say
Preaching should be simple but not simplistic. The Scriptures are given not only for information but also for transformation. The preacher may impress listeners with arcane theological truths that offer no life or hope, or the preacher may help transform lives with the truths of Christ's life changing process. The latter result is God's intention for Christian preaching.