If God is not supreme in our preaching, where in this world will the people hear about the supremacy of God? If we do not spread a banquet of God’s beauty on Sunday morning, will not our people seek in vain to satisfy their inconsolable longing with the cotton candy pleasures of pastimes and religious hype? If the fountain of living water does not flow from the mountain of God’s sovereign grace on Sunday morning, will not the people hew for themselves cisterns on Monday, broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jer. 2:13)?
Preaching is important. People need the sustaining Word of God not the tepid moralizing of topical advice, but the authoritative preaching of the living Word of God. Our world needs heralds of the gospel who take the stance of an ambassador of a King and offer the truth of God rather than the smarmy salve of the ancient (and false) shepherds of Israel as expressed in Ezekiel 34:4-5.
The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts.
It is the Word of God that brings strength to the weak and healing to the broken-hearted, and brings back those who have strayed. There are two aspects to the preaching of the Word of God that must be discussed: one, the public proclamation of the Word of God in the corporate worship setting; and two, the proclamation of Word of God by individuals in one on one contact with others. For my purposes, I want to take up the latter aspect first.
Because it is the Word that has power—not the messenger—it is important that every member of a local church be trained to share the gospel. One book that has been helpful to me in training others is Bill Fay’s, Share Jesus without Fear. Fay’s approach is to train every believer to share the gospel through the use of five questions that initiate a gospel conversation opportunity.
- Do you have any kind of spiritual beliefs?
- To you, who is Jesus Christ?
- Do you believe in heaven or hell?
- If you died, where would you go?
- If what you are believing is not true, would you want to know?
I have been training men and women all over the country using these five questions for over a decade and they have proven powerfully effective in helping men and women of all ages begin to experience their usefulness to God as disciple makers. There is more to Bill Fay’s approach, but what is important for this post is the understanding that all believing members of the launch team for a church plant need to be trained in how to proclaim the gospel.
Tomorrow, I will try to discuss why these five questions are so important and helpful.
 John Piper, The Supremacy of God in Preaching, Revised edition, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1990, 2004), 107-08.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, (Wheaton, Ill.: Standard Bible Society, 2001). See also, Matthew 9:35-38.
 Bill Fay, Sharing Jesus without Fear, (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman and Holman, 1999). Both Bill Fay and Bailey Smith’s books are more than a decade old, but their value continues to be unsurpassed by more recent works.
 Ibid., 34-35.