Why Do We Preach?

by Jerry Senn

Some time ago I read a tiny book entitled, “Conversations on Preaching,” by Michael Duduit. It’s an interesting discussion from some well known preachers in America, who express their “take” on why preaching is an important factor in successful spiritual growth within the church.

I found that these men were expressing the very things I have been trying to do for more than sixty years. However, it’s always good to rethink the meaning of things we practice so often. Why? Because we are all prone to make things we do routine and we lose contact with our purpose, or fail to value the work as having the impact God intended it to have for the hearers.

I share with you here a few paragraphs that basically say what I believe preaching is all about.

Fred Craddock:

“Why do we preach? Because we must. We must join the Biblical Word with the human voice of the believer standing up in the company of other believers. Preaching has a socializing, community-building force. It brings the page of the text to life in an oral way. The nuances of the human voice maximize the content of the biblical message.

“Preaching has a heavy tradition that generates a high level of expectation like no other single act in the church. Wherever you have an expectation this high, the possibility of gain, of fruit, of change, is great.”

Tony Evans:

“Preaching is a powerful tool. It starts with your view of the Word. If you believe in an inerrant, authoritative Word, then that means you take preaching very seriously and you look at it as a powerful process of making a difference. And you don’t just preach to teach, you preach to transform. So, the issue at the end of the sermon is not only did they understand, but what will happen differently because they came here and I was in front of them with God’s Word? When you look at it in that way, preaching becomes a very powerful, powerful thing that we cannot take lightly.”

Ed Young:

“I think preaching is vital, I really do. First of all, I think worship is vital and preaching is a part of worship. It’s where the family meets, where they give praise to God, where there is celebration, where there is testimony, where the Word of God is read, and where the Word of God is proclaimed. It’s a vital part of worship. It’s amazing to me how sometimes we can take the Bible and exegete it and teach it and preach it – and make it boring. “To me, good preaching involves a variety of approaches. I think all preaching, by definition, introduces people to Christ and must be biblical; but the approach has to be different so they don’t say ‘S.O.S’ (Same Old Stuff). The Bible is so relevant, and we can take that relevance in God’s eternal Word and let the Holy Spirit work with it. Then preaching will be blessed by God, people will come to Christ, and the family will be nurtured.”