“Preach,” the deep resonant voice was that of an older black man, and it half scared me. It was 1978, and I was 16 and speaking (I wish I could say preaching) at the South Woodlawn Church of Christ on 53rd Street in Birmingham, AL. And, in between “amen’s” and “uh-huh’s” was that good word—“Preach.” It sounded half-command and half-exhortation. Well, nearly 35 years later, it still sounds that way, whether it’s Paul’s “exhortation” (2 Tim. 4:2) or James “warning“ (Jas. 3:1).
“Preach!” It’s what Jesus did (Mark 2:2, etc). To those who do not honor what we do, it sounds trite, but to those who understand God’s purpose (1 Cor. 1:21-24) that “God had only one son, and He was a preacher,” it resonates with our hearts.
“Preach!” It’s what we do. In amongst the praying, promoting, planning, prompting, paying visits, pleading, penning articles, and peace-making—we preach. And Sunday’s seem to come with an unrelenting frequency. Preachers, preach. You’ll carry many a burden to the pulpit each week. Give attention to it. It is not a sideline among the other things we do. It is the command of God, the commission of the brethren, the cry of the church, and the copying of the Christ.
“Preach!” From Spurgeon to Woodson, the definitions of preaching seem to get longer as the weight of the role grows heavier. Let me offer a much briefer demarcation: “Tell truth!” That’s our job in two words. Tell truth. Tell it on good days and bad, when it’s glad news or sad, if it’s to your friend or your foe, when it merits you a pat on the back or a kick in the seat, when you tremble from disheartenment or delight—tell truth!
“Preach!” If it doesn’t make you a little nervous, you probably aren’t doing it very well, for heaven and hell are in the balance. You stand before people asking, “Do you have a word form the Lord?” You share your life, your passion, your heart, and your soul…but most important, you share the Word of God.
Preach, preachers, for lives are waiting to be changed. In this latest offering of Hope & Expectation from The Jenkins Institute, several of our favorites focus our sights on preaching.
“…when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Matt. 7:27-28 ESV).
— Jeff A. Jenkins & Dale Jenkins