Saturday, 25 April 2009

Pastoral Preaching

Lloyd-Jones' task in his book Preaching and Preachers is to show the primacy of preaching - to show that it is the church's primary task. Early on in the book he justifies this in light of attacks on preaching, and particularly the place of 'personal counselling' as being the minister's primary task rather than preaching. Such counselling has its place - yes. But it is to supplement, not supplant the preaching.

Many of us would agree with this, but I wonder if we actually tie the two together as strongly as we might? I think we often say that the word is being preached, and the word is being used pastorally, and leave it at that. I wonder if we could do more. I wonder if in our pastoral visiting and care, whether we would do well to use the sermon as the launching point. To use what was declared in the power of the Spirit as the place where we start our pastoral care. Not just 'what did you think of the sermon?', but 'Sunday's sermon dealt with the issue of X. Tell me about this in your Christian life.' To do so would be hard work - if like me you're on your own in a church (i.e., the preacher is doing most of the pastoral work) it can feel a little arrogant - but it would be saying that what happens on a Sunday is not just a take-it-or-leave-it event. It is God's word being declared to God's people, and should therefore have an effect on their lives. And our job as curer of souls is to see that effect worked out.

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