Equipping the Saints for this Task is Your Job Preacher

Tuesday is for Preaching

How do our people learn how to proclaim the gospel? It is a pretty simple question but one that is not asked very often.

Let’s face facts. When we offer EE classes, or evangelism training or sermonic exhortations to proclaim the gospel or recommendations for books to be read or whatever it is that you do in your congregation, the reality is that those classes, those books, those trainings and those exhortations are among the lowest attended and least applied messages we give. So where do they learn how to do it?

The culture is growing more and more antagonistic toward Christianity. The rise of evangelistic atheism (see Hawkins, Harris, Dawkins, Hitchins, Brooks), a hostile media toward objective truth, a religiously pluralistic context at schools and work,  all these and much more combine to intimidate the average believer into shutting his mouth about his or her faith.

Thesis: Our best opportunity to equip the saints for the work of the ministry of reconciliation is in preaching the gospel week-in/week-out, message by message as we preach expositionally book-by-book-by book.

We have said for years that our people learn to study their Bibles by the way that we preach the Bible. Well the same is true in terms of how they learn to share the gospel. When we, the preachers in the pulpit, become more skilled in week-after-week proclaiming the Bad News/Good News in a clear, complete, logical and sequential fashion, they, the brothers and sisters in our congregations, will begin to learn how to proclaim the gospel.


4 thoughts on “Equipping the Saints for this Task is Your Job Preacher

  1. Great stuff Marty. The function of the pastor has always been to equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph 4:12). The challenge is to consider that the present format of “once-a-week, Sunday morning lecture” (which characterizes most churches) has generally failed to accomplish this task. Am I saying that there is no benefit in lecture at times – absolutely not! But how long is it going to take before we see that this format was never meant to be CENTRAL to the life and expansion of the church.

    I believe that the effective pastor in this age is the man who is wise and courageous enough to create formats in which the listener interacts with the Word and is able to scrutinize their convictions in the light of what they understand. It is only then that a “heady” Christianity becomes heart-felt, personal and real – when it is heart-felt, personal and real, people naturally get excited about evangelism. Just ask the early church 🙂 If I am wrong, then why is what Marty said about the attendance to trainings and seminars for evangelism true, EVEN for churches where the gospel is faithfully and excellently presented from the pulpits?

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  2. True! Consider the Metropolitan Tabernacle and the vast evangelistic enterprises under Spurgeon!

    However, in a few years after his death the church turned to a decisionalistic gospel (detailed by Ian Murray, The Forgotten Spurgeon, end of book). The church turned away from the doctrines and zeal to share the gospel. Why? Had they been dependent on Spurgeon? No! Did they need another Spurgeon (not his son)? Yes – we all do!! But that’s asking the Lord for a lot. 🙂

    They needed the ministry of the Titus Mandate – of a Titus on Crete, who established a church in each town with godly elders who had to lead ther church by the Word (Titus 1:9). Titus had to remove the false teachers and insubordinate men from leadership (Titus 1:10-16), while appointing qualified men to govern and teach all the beleviers in every town. And shockingly, he had to combine all the churches in every town into one church (Titus 1:5). He taught “sound doctrine (Titus 2:1) but had to move on to the next town to appont elders there, so couldn’t stay in any one church as the pastor. And, he had to leave Crete to rejoin Paul on the mianland (Titus 3:12). So Paul’s apostolic solution to preparing a people for good deeds, and to provide a genuine testimony to Christ, was to appoint only qualfied men over the beleivers. The plan of God is summed up here in Titus, becasue Titus is church refomration done apostolic. For more info, see http://www.thetitusmandate.org. We’re talking whole church maturity.

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  3. I left this response over at The Gospel Coalition Website in response to Justin Taylor’s article on preaching the gospel on Sunday morning.

    “Good post and suggestions. We just lost a great one at doing this. Last week Dr. David Nicholas went to be with the his Lord. He was 79 and had recently started training pastors in what he called a “Gospel Boot Camp” to train them in how to do what Jesus did on the Emmaus Road, what Philip did with the Ethiopian Eunuch and what Spurgeon attempted to do in all of his messages, “Make a bee line to the cross.”

    Evangelical pastors need to wake up to the fact that their preaching week-in and week-out is their best opportunity to equip their people in how to share the gospel themselves. Our congregations learn to proclaim the gospel with clarity by hearing us proclaim it week after week, defining terms, making it clear, showing its necessity, etc. They need this from us.

    For too long we have designed everything to make it easy for them to invite others and failed to model for them how to do it themselves. The unintended consequence is that they, the average congregation, no longer knows how to share the gospel in a clear, complete, logical and sequential manner.

    Dr. Nicholas and his his church Spanish River Presbyterian (Boca Raton, FL) helped to plant over 250 churches and he was a master at proclaiming the Bad News/Good News. We need to pick up the banner.”

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