Preaching: The Forgotten Priority

The coming of a new year always inspires a lot of articles and blog posts about cultural trends and how the church needs to respond to them.  You’ve probably seen them floating around on Facebook and Twitter.  I’ve read a few of them.  They all say pretty much the same thing.  Among other things, we need to invest in technology and quit judging people if we want to reach the lost.  Oh yes, and target young people because they have a greater sense of mission and, you guessed it, they better understand cultural trends.

Let me be quick to say that I agree with much of what I read in these articles.  It’s what I don’t read in them that bothers me.   Simply put, I read almost nothing about the power and importance of the preached gospel.

Paul said, “Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

Honestly, I don’t know how you can write a 10 or 12-point blog post about building an effective church without mentioning the importance of preaching.  Some of the articles I read go on and on about the importance of having an app for your church and instituting online payment methods for giving, but say nary a word about the importance of having a strong, doctrinally sound voice in the pulpit.

Sometimes I wonder if we aren’t too clever for our own good.

Here’s what I think:

The most important thing a church can have going for it is strong, biblical preaching.  It can do with or without an app, a Facebook page, a glitzy web site, streaming sermons, online giving, a fancy building, free wi-fi, or a clearly defined brand.  But it cannot fulfill God’s purpose without power in the pulpit.

Occasionally, I speak to young preachers.  I always say, “Never, ever, ever let your preaching become a secondary priority.  If something has to slide, don’t ever let it be your sermon.”

I think I would feel better about all the hotshot church experts and bloggers if they showed a little more respect for preaching.

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3 Responses to Preaching: The Forgotten Priority

  1. Phil Smith says:

    Well said…Amen.

  2. Peggy Greenwood says:

    I can’t count the amount of times someone has come to the Welcome Desk after a service, be it a visitor or one of our members and asked how to get a copy of a sermon series because they felt it was spoken directly to their need. We all have heard a sermon or many that speaks directly to us as an answer to a need or question that seems to have been personally sent from God for us. That is the means for reaching someone and we are lucky to have your sermon skill, Mark, to find the subjects that cause a connection to us in our faith questions. Thank you, and I heard it at church, not on facebook (which I don’t use!)

  3. Mark.

    Preachers go to the internet to find a solid sermon or go through their files for one that worked in that past, but those who go to their knees with the question on their trembling lips, “God, what is Your message for the people and what shall I say?” will find the preaching mentioned above.

    The source is always the Source.

    It is said that sermons read aloud by an elder in a pastor-less church, from the archives of Charles Surgeon, were filled with enough power of the Holy Spirit to pierce the hearts and minds of the listeners to believe unto Salvation.

    The foolishness of our preaching will always be measured by the yieldedness of our hearts.

    Yours – as always – Chris

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