This post is part of a teaching series on Catalyzing Mission through Preaching.
Read part one, part two and part three.
When you preach to catalyze your congregation toward missional effectiveness, you are modeling what it looks like to speak the gospel to neighbors, coworkers, and friends. Let’s be clear about this; in the New Testament, every believer was considered a preacher or proclaimer of the gospel. It would have been foreign to imagine one person within church doing all the proclaiming. The expectation in the Bible is that gospel proclamation goes through the church and into everywhere that the church lives, works, and plays.
The word preacher simple means: gospel proclaimer. If you think preaching is primarily what your pastor does on Sunday every week, but you don’t proclaim the gospel, that’s not biblical preaching. Biblical preaching is proclamation, and if we have something to proclaim it’s the good news. Jesus is lord, Jesus died, Jesus rose again, Jesus is our king, Jesus is the one who bought us forgiveness of sins, Jesus is our redeemer. This is the proclamation and preaching that the New Testament church expected to happen.
As you read the book of Acts, you will notice the early disciples preached everywhere they went. Remember when they were scattered, they proclaimed the truths about Jesus: not just the Apostles, everyone. That’s how the church Antioch in is started in Acts 11. Therefore, our preaching on Sunday in our corporate gatherings is for the edifying of the believers and for the persuasion of the non-believers. But, it’s also how we equip our church to proclaim the gospel through our lives and in our city. It’s equipping, too!
For example, God’s gifted me as an evangelist, but a primary way I exercise that gift is through equipping others and one way I do that is in preaching. I want all these people to be able to preach the gospel to their friends, so I need to preach in such a way that it doesn’t elevate me further away from them. I need to bring my preaching down in such a way that they know they could do it too. If they walk away impressed and saying, “Oh my goodness, you have to come hear my pastor. I mean the stuff he says nobody can say this stuff. His insights are unbelievable, nobody can talk like he does.” I’ve elevated myself and what I’m actually doing is saying nobody can go preach the gospel. Or saying, it’s complicated, you won’t be able to do it. I intentionally work to help everyone—teenagers, blue-collar, high-tech, educators, and entrepreneurs—learn to do the work of an evangelist through my preaching.
As preachers, we, like the Wizard of Oz, have the opportunity to pull back the curtain on all the mechanisms of our teaching prep and expose them to the church so they aren’t so impressed with us anymore and they actually learn how to do it themselves. We want them to realize they have the same power and are able learn how to read the word and proclaim it to people. Think of what could happen to the church if Sundays trained people for everyday!
That’s all I’m trying to do on Sunday morning, I’m not only wanting to have the Spirit speak to their hearts but I’m wanting them to realize they can also be empowered by the Spirit to do the same thing. I want to strip back the curtain and reveal the things that help me preach well.
Not only will you be evangelistic all the time but you also get to be a model and show them that they can be preachers—that they can actually go out and start to share the good news of the gospel.
How does seeing yourself as a gospel-proclaimer in all of life change the way you live?