I recently heard one leader in our church indicate that we had too much preaching and teaching – that what is needed is more emphasis on connecting with people in their real lives. I’m certain that we won’t be tossing expository preaching at Crossroads Bible Church anytime soon – Pastor Jerry Mitchell is vitally committed to the that task. Such statements may expose a short-sightedness in what ministry is all about and the call of the pastor. Yet having been in ministry for 36 years I have been able to see several swings of the philosopy of ministry pendulum. One of those swings has had to do with this issue of preaching versus pastoring (pastoral care). The church tends to be on one side of the pendulum swing or another … in balance for a few minutes as it moves from one extreme to the other. Maybe the issue is that some divorce preaching from pastoral care; or maybe that we reduce shepherding to preaching alone. John MacArthur said sometime early in my ministry that,
“The pastor who is not a preacher grows petty. The preacher who is not a pastor grows remote”
As in so many situations it is not “either/or”, but rather “both/and.” In this vein I appreciated Paul Lamey’s Observations on Pastoral Preaching over at Expository Thoughts. I especially liked #6, learn to preach in weakness, fear and in much trembling….the opposite is a kamikaze pride, and #1, preaching great sermons should not be a cover for poor shepherding.
I may not preach very often but I can pray for those on our pastoral team who do stand in the pulpit that they will be good shepherds and, that, as a team of shepherds, our church staff will appropriately care for the church of Jesus Christ.