“Preaching is to the ministry of the church what spark plugs are to a car engine. Spark plugs are not the whole engine — and preaching is not all there is to ministry — but without the spark plugs the car will not work” (J. Kent Edwards, Deep Preaching, pp. 21-22)
In some circles today, preaching gets a bad rap. It’s seen as a small part of what a pastor does. Or, worse, it’s seen as an insignificant part of what a pastor does. “Real” ministry happens outside of Sundays. Preaching is seen as something that must be done but not much happens because of it.
Don’t get me wrong, a Sunday-only faith will die of starvation. It will remain shallow, conveniently packed into the “other” category of life. Real faith is lived out everyday, twenty-four hours a day.
That being said, I believe Edwards has a good point. Throughout recorded history, God has used the spoken word to rally his people, challenge their complacency, and to set forth his vision. Whether it was a solitary prophet standing on the street corner or Paul in a synagogue, transitional moments in history have been sparked by the spoken word.
It’s one reason why I love to preach.
There is something supernatural about a human being declaring eternal truth. Preaching, when handled with humility and preparation, has the ability to jump start a person’s faith, sustain them through immense challenges, and bring light into the dark corner of a person’s life.
However, the newest, most expensive cars can be rendered powerless without a functioning spark plug.
Preaching alone will not build a healthy church. But you cannot build a healthy church without healthy preaching.
If God has given you the privilege of standing before his people and speaking for him — take it seriously and do the best job you can. Continually get better. Fine-tune your craft. Learn from others.
Your next sermon might just be the spark plug that fires up someone else’s engine.
HT: Eric McKiddie