Raising up preachers, Part 2
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a series written by Mark Hallock. You’ll find the first part in the previous post on the Replant Blog.
Component #2: Group preaching
Once a month, the preaching cohort group will meet together for two to three hours (depending on your group size) for the purpose of instruction and preaching. Typically, a portion of this meeting will be given to discussing some of the reading and listening the group is doing together. It also can provide an opportunity for the group leader to do intentional teaching on some aspect of preaching. However, the majority of this meeting time will be spent having group members actually preach. This is where things get really fun! This meeting will allow individuals to preach in a context where they will be given honest and helpful feedback from others. Along with the group itself, I would recommend inviting other church leaders, as well as members of the congregation to come listen to the group preach each month.
Again, depending on the size of the group, each preacher in the cohort will preach a 20-25 minute sermon, followed by 10-15 minutes of evaluation and discussion. During this time, those present have the opportunity to offer words of encouragement and also share thoughts and observations that will help those in the cohort identify areas for growth in their preaching. I recommend having each observer fill out a simple preaching evaluation sheet that can help guide them in giving helpful critique in different areas.
Let me just reiterate what is probably very obvious. The evaluation and feedback given to the preachers in this context should be marked by much grace and kindness! Having your sermon critiqued? Are you kidding me? This can be an incredibly intimidating (even scary) experience for even the most seasoned preacher! This is why you want to go over the top in creating an environment marked by extravagant love and encouragement! This experience should be a joy, not drudgery. Do all you can to make sure it is just that.
Component #3: Mentor coaching
A mentor coach is an individual those in your group can meet with on a regular basis to receive helpful feedback and practical coaching for their growth as a preacher. The hope would be that this coach can commit to two things: 1) Be present to hear the preacher’s sermon each month and then 2) find an additional time to grab lunch or coffee to talk about the sermon and any other issues related specifically to the area of preaching.
With the help of the cohort leader, each preacher in the group is responsible for finding their own mentor coach. This coach may be your pastor, another leader in the church, or perhaps a pastor from a different congregation in the area. The bottom line is that having a preaching coach who can serve as a friend and mentor through this cohort experience will be a great encouragement to those in the group, helping them to get the most out of the cohort experience.
Your church can do this!
Our world needs the faithful preaching of God’s Word perhaps more than ever. But for this to happen, we must develop preachers of this Word. Local churches, just like yours, are desperately needed to help raise up and train these preachers. Sadly, very few congregations have an intentional and carefully crafted strategy to see this kind of equipping become reality in the lives of those exploring the call to preach the gospel.
My prayer is that through launching a preaching cohort, your congregation can become a place that is proactively raising up preachers who can take the truth of the gospel to the ends of the earth! Preachers who will rightly and joyfully feed God’s Word to God’s people. Preachers who will proclaim the truth and goodness of God to those who have yet to know Christ as Lord and Savior. Preachers who will bring hope to the hopeless and healing to the broken. Preachers who will lift high the gospel in such a way that lives, communities, and the world are transformed by the Spirit of God for the glory of God.