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spark plugs and preaching

“Preaching is to the ministry of the church what spark plugs are to a car engine. Spark plugs are not the whole engine — and preaching is not all there is to ministry — but without the spark plugs the car will not work” (J. Kent Edwards, Deep Preaching, pp. 21-22)

In some circles today, preaching gets a bad rap.  It’s seen as a small part of what a pastor does.  Or, worse, it’s seen as an insignificant part of what a pastor does.  “Real” ministry happens outside of Sundays.  Preaching is seen as something that must be done but not much happens because of it.

Don’t get me wrong, a Sunday-only faith will die of starvation.  It will remain shallow, conveniently packed into the “other” category of life.  Real faith is lived out everyday, twenty-four hours a day.

That being said, I believe Edwards has a good point.  Throughout recorded history, God has used the spoken word to rally his people, challenge their complacency, and to set forth his vision.  Whether it was a solitary prophet standing on the street corner or Paul in a synagogue, transitional moments in history have been sparked by the spoken word.

It’s one reason why I love to preach.

There is something supernatural about a human being declaring eternal truth.  Preaching, when handled with humility and preparation, has the ability to jump start a person’s faith, sustain them through immense challenges, and bring light into the dark corner of a person’s life.

However, the newest, most expensive cars can be rendered powerless without a functioning spark plug.

Preaching alone will not build a healthy church.  But you cannot build a healthy church without healthy preaching.

If God has given you the privilege of standing before his people and speaking for him — take it seriously and do the best job you can.  Continually get better.  Fine-tune your craft.  Learn from others.

Your next sermon might just be the spark plug that fires up someone else’s engine.

HT: Eric McKiddie