What is the role of preaching in the overall discipleship strategy of a church? Perhaps this is something you’ve never considered. Perhaps you’ve even read something along the way that dismissed the impact preaching can have on someone’s development as a disciple of Christ.
In this post, I want to explore some ways that preaching can serve as a tool for discipleship. Let me offer this disclaimer up front: Preaching can’t be your only strategy for making disciples, but it can (and should) be an effective tool in an overall discipleship strategy.
Many things can’t be done by preaching alone. But here are three key areas where preaching can help form men, women, and children into deeper disciples of Christ.
1. Biblical preaching helps lead believers to understand and apply the Bible in our lives.
Particularly through systematic, expositional preaching, your folks can begin to understand the overall message of the Bible. As you preach the Word week in and week out, your folks can begin to see the big story in the Bible: a people, created by God for a relationship with Him and worship of Him, who turn their backs (repeatedly) on Him. But God doesn’t leave them to their own devices. Rather, He passionately pursues them, even to the point of sending His own Son to give His life as a ransom on their behalf, providing the way for God’s people to be reconciled to God. One day, Jesus Christ Himself will return to usher in the kingdom of God, once and for all!
If you’re faithfully proclaiming Scripture to your people, they can begin to see how even some of the most seemingly obscure passages point to the Savior and His love for us. Through this process, they can begin to see how the truths of the Bible apply to their lives each and every day.
2. Preaching helps lead believers (and non-believers) to repent of sin in our lives.
It’s no secret that even the holiest person you know struggles with sin each and every day of their lives. We all have things in our lives that distract us from focusing our attention on Christ and pursuing Him above all else. We, therefore, need to be reminded of the things that Scripture calls sin, and we need to be reminded of our need to turn from those things and trust in Christ. This is true for the person who walks into your church building for the very first time, having never heard the name of Jesus before. It’s also true of the Sunday School teacher and deacon who’s been a faithful follower of Christ for 60 years.
One of the key marks of true followers of Christ is not that we live in a state of moral perfection, but that we are constantly repenting of sins and living in light of the grace of God and His revelation to us. Preaching helps us align our lives with what God has said, and it calls us to repent when we don’t.
3. Preaching helps lead believers toward a biblical worldview.
Each of us is constantly bombarded with messages that proclaim a worldview. The vast majority of these messages stands in direct contrast to the worldview the Bible calls us to have. Just as I need corrective lenses to clearly see the world around me, believers need biblical lenses to correctly see the world around us.
Faithfully preaching the message of Scripture helps us have this correct perspective. This type of proclamation helps us focus our attention on Jesus and what He has said, rather than the confusing, worldly mess we see on the news and social media.
As I said at the beginning of this post, I don’t believe preaching alone can accomplish this. But without solid biblical preaching, your people will have a hole in their discipleship.
So, pastor, preach the Bible. Each and every week, as you stand before your people, proclaim the glorious truths of the gospel of our God who loves His people more than we can possibly imagine. Point people to Jesus, the Savior and Sustainer of the world!
May God bless the preaching of His Word in His churches!
Published May 20, 2022