There are as many ideas about how to grow a church as there are books on the subject. There are books that focus on meeting felt needs, worship strategies, small groups and a myriad of other ministries that can be maximized to grow your church. However, what many of these books fail to recognize or address is that the bedrock of growing a church is the ministry of the Word through preaching.
With a biblical focus on the Word of God at the heart of a church Alec Motyer has written Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching. As the Old Testament editor for The Bible Speaks Today series, Motyer has turned his pen to writing on preaching and has written a book that addresses both the biblical-theological aspects as well as some practical issues.
The first five chapters address the nature of preaching. These chapters are exegetically grounded in various passages of Scripture. Motyer defines good preaching as that which has a “sense of being plain and unmistakable.” (11) Preaching that is good is to be expositional, that is, “the restatement of a Scripture.” (30) Motyer wants to impress upon his readers that preaching is the ground upon which the whole church grows and functions. All ministry grows out of the Word and the preaching of the Word. His exegetical work deals with many NT passages that provide us with the nature and task of faithful biblical preachers. His observation, especially of the book of Acts, is that it is the ministry of the preaching of the Word that drove the growth of the early church. Surely there were other attending contributions, like the work of the Spirit through the Word, but it was always the Word that led the way and was responded to.
The second half of the book addresses several issues surrounding sermon prep along with some discussion on application and the spiritual life of the preacher. For sermon preparation, Motyer discusses five aspects: examination, analysis, orientation, harvesting and presentation. These deal with knowing and understanding the resources available for good exegesis, doing the task of exegesis itself and extracting the heart of a text for presentation. On the preachers spiritual life, Motyer turns to the lives of Paul, Ezekiel and Isaiah to draw practical encouragement and direction as the preacher does his divine task. In chapter thirteen, Motyer continues this focus on the life of the preacher as he highlights Paul’s words in Acts 20:28 to “take heed to yourselves.”
Preaching? is exactly as the subtitle states, a book that has simple teaching on simply preaching. Motyer does not break new ground on the nature and practice of preaching. What he does is give us a good reminder of the preachers responsibility as a minister of the Word of God. This is a great primer on preaching for preachers young and old.
NOTE: I received this book for free from Christian Focus through Cross Focused Reviews. I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review. The thoughts and words expressed are my own.