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preaching article Does Preaching Still Work?

Does Preaching Still Work?

based on 6 ratings
Nov 1, 2012
Scripture: none
(Suggest Scripture)

Preaching is undervalued. If “Homiletics” was a stock on the NASDAQ it would carry a strong “sell” recommendation from most pundits. Many just aren’t sure that the sermon can carry the freight. As preachers we are trying to build believers. We want to encourage spiritual formation among the people God has given us. The question is whether preaching can get the job done.

People smile at us when we preach and they whisper encouraging words to us as they file out of the church on Sunday morning. Yet a handshake at the door is a far cry from the kind of encouragement a pastor feels when a real individual prays to receive Christ on a Tuesday morning in the office or at a small group meeting Thursday night.

Increasingly, pastors are wondering whether preaching works. The tangible impact of a small group or one-on-one ministry yields much more immediate and direct response for a results-starved preaching pastor. Yesterday one of my students reported that his pastoral mentor advised him not to spend too much time on sermon preparation because the real work of ministry happens in face-to-face personal relationship.

He’s right, of course. He’s also wrong. He is right in saying that great things happen when we develop relationships in ministry.

He’s wrong to suggest that this could not happen in preaching.

For me it is an issue of economy. Once a week, the whole congregation gathers to hear God’s Word. Preparing to use that half-hour to its greatest benefit is simply good time management. Perhaps preachers have lost faith in preaching because they’ve been offering too much poor preaching. Perhaps they have forgotten that their call from God is to “preach the Word.” I believe that preaching still works when preachers pray and when they are faithful to give energy to their calling.

Preaching still works because God still speaks!



Dr. Kent Anderson has been a full time pastor for eleven years in Calgary, AB, Richmond, BC, and Prince Rupert, BC. He now serves as a teacher of preachers at Northwest Baptist Seminary and the Associated Canadian Theological Schools (ACTS) of Trinity Western University in Langley, BC. Learn more from Kent at his website, Preaching.org, a forum for the discussion of the many and varied intersections between preaching and culture.

Talk about it...

Ojang Ngwa Stephen avatar
Ojang Ngwa Stephen
0 days ago
Many of us have lost faith in God and his word such that because of unbelief this kind of question comes up 'Does preaching still work? AH AH. If unbelief has really held us captive we should instead ask this, ''Is the creator still alive''? does his word work?. This is what I call preaching from self interest or story telling, you just wake up from bed and go up to preach without praying without the spirit how will it work?. Oh may be you were not called as a Minister in the first place.
Ojang Ngwa Stephen avatar
Ojang Ngwa Stephen
0 days ago
Many of us have lost faith in God and his word such that because of unbelief this kind of question comes up 'Does preaching still work? AH AH. If unbelief has really held us captive we should instead ask this, ''Is the creator still alive''? does his word work?. This is what I call preaching from self interest or story telling, you just wake up from bed and go up to preach without praying without the spirit how will it work?. Oh may be you were not called as a Minister in the first place.
Ojang Ngwa Stephen avatar
Ojang Ngwa Stephen
0 days ago
Many of us have lost faith in God and his word such that because of unbelief this kind of question comes up 'Does preaching still work? AH AH. If unbelief has really held us captive we should instead ask this, ''Is the creator still alive''? does his word work?. This is what I call preaching from self interest or story telling, you just wake up from bed and go up to preach without praying without the spirit how will it work?. Oh may be you were not called as a Minister in the first place.
Ralph M avatar
Ralph M
0 days ago
(Ralph) Many times, preaching doesn't work, because it is based more on morality of man...than the WHOLE TRUTH of God. I have heard pastors preach the 'Word of God', and on their own, tell women in their church God said it was okay to sleep with them. Man's values have no values that God works by. He will use our values, for His glory, but our Lord warns us, Gods thoughts have nothing to do with ours. His values rest on His Kingdom, and He gives us the chance to follow Him...or be corrupted. Our choices. Many pulpits have Satan standing next to them, as many pews are filled with the same mindset. Many 'Christians' are frauds, and our Lord warns us of that to, even thinking, as God walks up to them in the end...and be greeted with the words, "depart from Me I never knew you." Our Lord used 'parables', that those searching for the WHOLE TRUTH of God, would have to search their hearts, and flesh, to make sure they are not the weeds...but are the 'good fruit', and our Lord defines that by our 'good fruits'. That deems ACTION on our parts. ACTIONS in words, ACTION in values and ACTION in our flesh and hearts, our hearts being what God values even more. If I was watering my lawn, I have to realize there are many weeds that will grow, and it is up to me to use sources to 'cut out' the weeds, to call out the weeds, to destroy the weeds so they have no strength, and the water gets to only the grass. Anyone who has a garden, knows that weeds grow a lot faster, and bigger...just as evil does. It is why so many churches blindly serve apostate value, while singing praises, Baptizng and praying...God, no where present. The sanctification process, we all go through, makes God bigger in our lives, not smaller. In that process we see even more we have to change in our lives. What we read, watch, listen to and even those we call family and friends. Remember, Jesus pointed out His human family, was not His real family, and this truth makes me understand why so many feel they don't belong here...because, for many, this is not our 'home.' Our souls know it, and we feel the separation to our very core. Clergy has to remember they are supposed to be the 'weed eaters', to keep their charge of what God gave them, in line. But just like the value of so many parents wanting to be friends to their children, the same value is given from pulpits, rather than instruction, restitution, discipline and WHOLE TRUTH that hurts...while it heals. God Bless.
James Kennedy avatar
James Kennedy
0 days ago
If you're asking the question "does preaching get the job done", you're asking the wrong question. The question is "did God command us to preach." I certainly don't fancy myself a scholar or a deep thinker, but imo, this whole mindset is what is wrong with Christianity today. The question is never what works and doesn't work. The question is "what has God instructed us to do." I would certainly agree with Dr. Anderson that preaching is most effective when "preachers pray and when they are faithful to give energy to their calling," but God's Word never returns void whether spoken by a donkey or Spirit filled preacher. Just my humble opinion.
Steve Baker avatar
Steve Baker
0 days ago
Great word pastor. I have been in the ministry most of my adult life but only a pastor for 5 years. I pastor a small congregation and I have found that each Sunday is the highlight of most of my congregants week. I follow my outline and stick the subject matter and yes,they do tell me on the way out the door "good word" today pastor. That is an encouragement to me each Sunday. For the record, my sermon title this week is "Called to Preach the Word". Blessings !!!
John E Miller avatar
John E Miller
0 days ago
Does preaching still work? The Apostle Paul gives a clear answer in 1 Cor.1:17-31. That is the definitive answer of God's word to this rather odd question coming from a preacher and teacher of other preachers.

So, what did you think?


Thank you.