The Relentlessness of Preaching

One of the particular challenges of preaching is the every-weekness of it. Preaching is relentless – week after week we have to stand and deliver, and sometimes more often than that. It wasn’t so long ago that most preachers would preach every Sunday morning and evening, not to mention Wednesday nights as well. I have several Korean brothers who preach every single day and sometimes more than once on each of those days. My wife is a chaplain serving Senior Citizens. She is required to open the Word of God several times a week before these spiritually hungry people.

It is a lot to ask.

Of course, the relentlessness of the preaching calendar is in the favor of the gospel and works to our benefit as well. We might not hit a home run every time to the pulpit, but over time, week after week, our preaching has a cumulative effect that can be very powerful for the people.

I am mindful of the fact, however, that as I train preachers, describing for them ways toward an ideal sermon, the reality is that the pressures of any given week will conspire against the offer of our very best. I know that some weeks we will simply have to do the best we can with what we have. In such weeks I am comforted by the knowledge that preaching, ultimately is God’s task and he will do his will by his Spirit, even when the preacher is personally overwhelmed. At the same time, I don’t use this as an excuse that might justify haphazard effort on my own behalf.

The discipline of the preaching schedule is a good thing for our listeners. It is also a good thing for us as we commit ourselves to faithful, regular, engagement with God’s Word, not solely for the professional purpose of the production of our preaching, but for the health and vitality of our own souls – week after week, Sunday after Sunday.

We preach in the faith that God will fill up what is lacking. We keep preaching week by week in the confidence that God will use his Word by his Spirit, even through his tired and sometimes over-extended servants.

2 thoughts on “The Relentlessness of Preaching

  1. What your particular church tradition expects from preaching will obviously influence this, but in my tradition (Pentecostal) I think that being part of a preaching team rather than the sole preacher is a much more healthy rhythm for a pastor. (Even one who is the only “professional” minister in his/her congregation). Train up the people in your congregation to preach. I think we shouldn’t waste people’s time with anything less than our best – and preaching more than once a week necessitates a lot less than our best. (At the same time, I recognize that in some situations “preaching” is more like leading a Bible study, which could be done more than once a week). I personally find preaching once every two weeks is about ideal.

  2. Well-said JR. I too agree that it is a good idea to have a preaching team. I think this is helpful not only for the pastor but also for the listener as well. Preachers can teach Scripture using the same methods/delivery but they do so through their unique experience and personality. I find value in having this different voice and expression of truth in preaching because listener’s will connect and respond to one pastor more than another based upon how the teach or the unique personality/experience of the preacher. While the truth remains the same, the voice is different, speaking from different angles and experience. I believe this is another benefit of having a teaching team rather than a solo pastor who bears the entire responsibility of handling God’s Word.

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