One fine Sunday morning, we sing and praised God for his goodness and all the things that he have done all through out the week. I stood up infront of the people and began to preach. Some children were crying, a few is talking with their sitmates but most listen attentively to what I am preaching.
As I preached, I feel like people have a blank mind, they do not understand what I am preaching, and seems like to look attentively listening but their minds are flying somewhere out there gazing upon their own fantasies as they day dream.
After preaching, I felt like that it was a failure. But just as I am shaking people’s hand as they go out the church, a lady which is my member shook my hands saying; “what a great sermon pastor!” I don’t know what to say at that very moment. I haven’t seen that while I was preaching and is totally opposite to what I felt. How could this happen?
Preaching is one of the most visible ministries that we can see inside the church. And it is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why there is a Sunday worship service, that is to hear God’s word. Our worship services will be lacking something without preaching even though many people would desire to sing rather than to listen.
People inside the church listens to God’s word through the preacher and then go and move on with their own lives. Some were blessed with the Lord’s message while some do not even know nor understand what had been preached.
I wish this book will be able to explain to preaching disciples the importance and the essence of preaching in the church. I do not intend to make another book or material that will teach us about preaching, but to practice what we already have learned.
What is Preaching?
The dictionary defines preaching as: “To proclaim or publish tidings; specifically, to proclaim the gospel; to discourse publicly on a religious subject, or from a text of Scripture; to deliver a sermon.
The difference between preaching and homiletics is that preaching is the actual discourse of public speaking of proclaiming the gospel while homiletics is a form of pastoral theology where it is a branch of rhetoric that treats of the composition and delivery of sermons or homilies (Wikipedia).
However, both homily and preaching are being used simultaneously and now known to be the same. But in reality, most protestant churches used to call it preaching while the Catholics and other similar churches like Episcopalian and Anglicans used to call it Homilies.
For the purpose of uniformity, let us use the word “Preaching”.
Why Learning How to Preach is Needed?
Our world now is filled with false teachers. Paul in the book of 2 Timothy warned Timothy to become a man who correctly handles the word of truth preaches it (2 Timothy 2, 3 and 4), being ready in season or out of season. With all the cultic movements going on around the world, we as Christians are being instructed and encouraged to become good steward of the God’s word.
I think many people have been asking this all the time. Why should there be a preaching portion in almost every Christian gatherings. Nowadays, I have seen programs now being shortened in the preaching portion and such programs focused now in the event rather than God’s word.
Furthermore, there are still very few people who share and teach the gospel. The laborers are still few. We need more workers in the field. We need more people who are willing to commit in sharing the gospel of Christ. But where do we recruit? Who can be the students for preaching? Who can be the future preachers of our churches?
Where to Find Potential Preachers?
There is no better place to look for potential teachers of God’s word than the church. Going to seminary and asking someone to come to your church to preach can be an immediate answer but not a long term solution for the lack of preachers inside your church.
If your church doesn’t have a seňor pastor and your pastor has just left, what should you do then if you have no preacher in your church for the moment? Hiring someone can be one of our immediate actions. In contrast to this, whether or not our church is in need of preachers for the moment, we as members, as a church should be trained to take over the pulpit if fortuitous events where vacancy for pastoral office will happen.
The best place to get those potential preachers is inside the church. We need to train our young men to preach. Training preachers inside the church gives our church advantages:
- Your pastor can do more things than preaching.
- Your church can definitely stand in the absence of pastoral office.
- Your church is at the same time producing more church leaders.
- Your church will have a stronger foundation since more people now will have to study God’s word vigorously.
Qualifications of a Preacher
The book of 2 Timothy tells us about how Paul charged Timothy to become a good pastor. In our time, there are some preachers who were not really pastors. But nonetheless, any preacher should live like that as of the standard of a pastor. This is because as preachers, we are the one who teach God’s word to people. We are the one who encourage them to live in accordance to God’s words. Thus, becoming a teacher means, we should be the first who practice what we teach.
As a pastor of the church, it is our responsibility to identify who are the potential preachers in our churches. “…in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)” This is what Paul said to Timothy as he charges Timothy to take over part of his work since Paul is already in prison.
To summarize the qualification of a preacher, let us focus broadly in the comparisons that Paul mentioned.
1.A good trainer (2 Timothy 2:2) – a good trainer is able to entrust to reliable men who is also able to teach others. This is very important qualification in order to ensure the continuity of the work.
2.A good soldier (2 Timothy 2:3-4) – a good soldier does not go into civilian affairs. This means that a minister should always take good care of his reputation and not becoming an ordinary person in terms of his judgment and involvement in controversial issues. This also means that he is expected to be above average and as much as possible to be excellent in terms of putting into practice the word of God.
3.A good athlete (2 Timothy 2:5) – a good athlete competes in accordance to rules. An athlete who violates the rules are being disqualified from the competition. Similarly, a minister of God should abide in a strict discipline, playing in accordance to the rules. Violation results to disqualification and such a minister will not receive the victor’s crown.
4.A good farmer (2 Timothy 2:6) – a good farmer is the first to receive the share of his crops. Spiritual farming is very similar to the literal farming. A farmer takes care of his crops well so that in the harvest time receives a good harvest.
The four qualifications above covers the rest of the things discussed by Paul in chapters 2, 3 and 4.
Biblical Background of Preaching.
Probably you are wondering when does preaching started in the Bible. In the Old Testament, preaching can be traced back during the time of Moses, when he had lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
When God gave Moses the 10 Commandments and all other Laws, Moses has to reiterate it to the Israelites. He stand in the midst of the Israelites, telling them about the Laws of God. Moses in these incidents becomes a public speaker of God’s word. This has been a regular practice of the Israelites even up to the time of Jesus.
In the New Testament, teachers of the Law like the Pharisees and the Sadducees becomes the public speakers of God’s word. Then came John the baptist and Jesus Christ himself. They were followed by the apostles in the book of Acts.
It is notable however that the preaching that they used to do before concentrates mainly in on God’s word, reiterating the books of the Law and of the prophets. While now, sermons are made through the sermons of the apostles and their stories. The idea is still the same, but the content of is a little different from what we do now.
Efforts has been made in order to go back to what the apostles have been doing. This is why some Bible study methods have been started and Exegesis has been put forward. This method of Bible Study is “getting the original intended meaning of passage.” The former school was known to be as Allegorical. Allegorical “is giving a meaning to the passage.” We will discuss more about Exegesis in one of the chapters.
The Source of God’s Word for Preaching
Where and what is the source of preaching topics? With the emergence of the so-called “Narrative Preaching”, some people thinks that the Bible is no longer the sole source of God’s word for preaching.
In contrast to this, I would say that there should be no other source for preaching except the Bible and a valid revelation from God (which is extra-ordinary and very rare). The Bible is complete and is authoritative enough to be the source of God’s word. The Law of Moses and of the book of prophets is included in the Bible Canon plus the books written by the Apostles making it a valid source of authority.
The dangerous thing about “claimed” God’s revelation during these days is that many false teachers now claims to have a revelation from God, yet failed when tested in comparison to the Scriptures and the message that it brings.