Why My Role in Preaching Is Not Enough
1. Preaching is a God-ordained part of the corporate life of the church.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word” (2 Timothy 3:16–4:2).
2. But the Bible makes clear that preaching is not enough.
2.1 The church is a covenant community in which all members are ministers.
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11–12).
2.2 The Holy Spirit ministers to the body through each member.
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
2.3 The ministry of every member is indispensable for the church to be what God calls it to be.
“On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:22).
“If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body”” (1 Corinthians 12:15).
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you”” (1 Corinthians 12:21).
2.4 The ministry of the word is commanded from all the members to the other members.
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12–13).
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24–25).
2.5 Experience teaches us why the one-another ministry is a necessary partner with preaching.
2.51 The impulse to disappear in the crowd is very strong.
2.52 The tendency toward passivity in listening is strong.
2.53 Listeners in a big group can more easily evade redemptive crises.
2.54 Listeners in a large group tend to neglect efforts of personal application.
2.55 Opportunity for questions leading to growth is missing.
2.56 Accountability for follow-through on good resolves is missing.
2.57 Prayer support for a specific need or conviction or resolve goes wanting.
©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org