Monday, March 22, 2010

It Takes A Preacher!

Today many believe that preaching is outdated and ineffective. The pulpit is being de-emphasized in many churches, while drama and other forms of entertainment are gaining more prominence. There are two points I want to make about this trend and attitude toward preaching.
First, to minimize preaching in our worship services is to minimize God's plan for our worship. Preaching has been practiced in our worship from the very beginning (Acts 20:7). The pulpit is invaluable to the life and growth of a congregation. It sets the tone, encourages, warns, and informs. When the pulpit is de-emphasized, the members of that congregation will certainly suffer from shallow teaching.
Second, the pulpit is not the real answer to church growth. The pulpit is not going to reach the masses. It is simply too limited. It is limited in scope because it is not primarily designed as an evangelistic tool. The main purpose of the pulpit is directed to the church and not specifically to those outside of Christ. If we used the pulpit only for outreach, we would never be able to deal with the meat of God's Word(Hebrews 5:12-14). It is also limited in range. By its very nature, pulpit preaching is limited to the confines of a building. Most of the lost are outside our buildings without any desire to enter.
There is another unfortunate assumption often made today. Namely, the way to reach the lost is to invite them to worship services. This practice is not wrong; using this practice as an approach to personal evangelism is wrong. As we have seen, worship services are really for Christians, not those outside of Christ. If we are going to reach the lost, we must realize it doesn't take a pulpit, it takes a preacher. When Jesus sent Saul to Damascus to wait to learn what he "must do" (Acts 9:6), He also sent Ananias to give Saul that instruction. In the conversion of Saul, it took a preacher! Why didn't Jesus tell him what to do when He had Saul's attention on the road to Damascus? The only answer I have to that question is that Jesus did not want to do it that way. He must have wanted a preacher to talk to Saul. Consider the Ethiopian Eunuch. The Lord sent Philip to "chase him down." When Philip caught him, he "preached to him Jesus" (Acts 8:36). Again, it took a preacher! It is the same with the Philippian Jailor (Acts 16:31-34).
The fact is, all Christians are called to be "preachers." If we are to grow as we ought to be growing, we must all go out and "preach" or talk to others about Christ, His grace, His word, and His Church. While there may be a very few exceptions (those who are self-taught), the general rule is that everyone who becomes a Christian did so because someone cared enough to talk to him or her. It still takes a preacher. Are you preaching today?

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