How does the priority of preaching fit in a disciple-making church? Great question, and one that you will rarely hear addressed. Very few people ever consider the question of what the role of preaching is in a church committed to making disciples. In this blog, let me unpack what I’ve discovered about the role of preaching in a church that is serious about making fully trained disciples. Please remember, this comes from a guy who has been preaching in the same church for over thirty-four years. I say that simply because preaching has been a big part of my role as a pastor for a long time, and I understand how important it is to everyone who does what I do.
First, remember that preaching is one part of the disciple-making process! One mistake many pastors make is seeing the task of preaching as the end all. We could discuss the possible reasons, but suffice it to say Jesus made his messages a strategic part of creating a movement of multiplying disciples. Jesus did not make his preaching the end-all. Thinking of “how I view preaching” as more important than how Jesus viewed preaching is a mistake.
Remember, the mission is not to “make great messages” but to “make disciples of all nations.” You have missed the mark if you preach thousands of great messages but do not lead the church to be a disciple-making movement.
Second, Preaching to make disciples means preaching biblically! I know many preachers that will fight you on whether or not you should preach using a topical or expository approach. I personally prefer to preach with an expository approach, but Jesus preached topically. Now, we know that Jesus is the “word made flesh” and that Jesus quoted plenty of Old Testament passages, but the safest route for us is to preach the text as it is written. People need to hear the word of God, not someone’s opinion.
I find that preaching through the scriptures gives me the authority that can only come from God’s word. If you preach through the Bible, God picks the subject, not the day’s headlines. Disciples grow best when we open God’s word and explain the text in a way that is relevant to everyday life. No one taught in a more relevant way than Jesus, and we still need his unchanging truth for a constantly changing world.
Third, preach for transformation more than information! Jesus was not preaching to make theologians but to make disciples. Communication is essential, but only if it leads to life change. God never intended for us to glean information only for information’s sake. Knowledge, or “truth,” is intended to change us and make us more like Christ. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:17 that the purpose of all scripture is to help us become “complete and equipped for every good work.” God’s word is designed to help us be and do what God has created us for, not just to know more.
These three insights into preaching are only the tip of the iceberg regarding preaching and disciple-making. If you want to know more about what it means to be a disciple-making church or a disciple-making pastor, contact us at impactministries.com. We are here to serve you.
This post originally appeared at: Preaching and Disciple-Making – Impact Discipleship Ministries