What is preaching? Why do we have a sermon every Sunday? What's actually going on when the Word is preached?
Up here in Yorkshire we thought it would be good to do some training together as pastors and elders. So in the Spring we spent three evenings looking at 'What is Eldership?' and examining what the Bible had to say about that particular ministry.
Not only did that training work really well, but people wanted more. So this Autumn we're spending three Monday evenings together looking at preaching.
And last night we had the first two sessions. So we started off with some theology of preaching. In the first session we had a look at what it means to preach the Word. We saw that in Acts, the growth of the church is described in terms of the growth of the Word. So it's through the Word that the Church grows. If we're to preach the Word, then we need to know what the Word is. So we had a quick look through the Bible to see what the Word of God is, and what happens when people encounter the Word of God.
Then in the second session, knowing what the Bible says about the Word of God, we went on look at what that means for our preaching. We saw that Christ speaks through His Word, that Christ acts through His Word, and that Christ is present in His Word.
So preaching is a divine activity: God is at work. It's not about us reaching up to God, but about God reaching down to us. We're called to preach Christ, in Christ, for Christ.
If you want to know what that all means, you can have a listen to the mp3s. I'll put up the whole series on the Audio page as the Autumn goes along. In October we'll be looking at understanding the Bible text and then in November at moving from the interpreting the text to proclaiming Christ.
(Oh, and if you want to know what the picture at the top of this post has to do with it all, have a look here.)