The title of this post might cause you to read it twice. “Let the pastor do the teaching and the church do the preaching.” Okay, so what does that mean? Is it just a clever title meant to nudge people to live better lives, or what? In what way should people do the preaching?
As with any issue in life, our first recourse for answering questions and understanding issues is the Scripture. The titles statement is a Scriptural one. Here’s why. Ephesians 4:11-12: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints.”
In a nutshell, God gave pastors to the church to equip us. “Equip” in the verse has with it the idea of preparation. But preparation for what? What are pastors supposed to prepare us to do?
Gifts Who Equip Us
Ephesians answers the question. The verse tells us: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Did you get it? Pastors are gifts from God for preparing us (us, Christians = saints) to do ministry work, or “the work of ministry,” as the verse says.
The Work of the Ministry
And what is “the work of the ministry?” Just what it says. “Ministry” here could be translated “service.” We’re not talking about a spiritual service as we commonly think of spiritual service like preaching, exhorting, reading your Bible, etc. All those are great things to do, but “service” refers to physical activity and maybe even menial tasks. Many times when the Bible refers to a “servant” and uses this word, it is referring to someone who waits on tables. Think busboy. Think waiter. Think serving other people practically, tangibly, and with concrete behavior.
So, You’re a Minister
That’s basically what we mean by letting the pastor do the teaching and the church do the preaching. The pastor’s job, as it were, is preparing you to be a good minister. And minister you should—serving the body of Christ with your gifts.
What’s the end result of adequate preparation and active serving? It’s pretty amazing. The rest of the passage explains…
- “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God”
- “Until we attain to mature manhood”
- “Until we attain…to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”
That’s a pretty big result, and yet that is really the result of listening, learning, then preaching what you know—living it out.
When a pastor preaches a sermon, what should you do with it? Should it burrow in your little heart and bless your socks off? Sure! But that’s not all. It ought to be fleshed out in every aspect of your life. A pastor’s teaching is intended to prepare you to do something—to serve and act in a way that meets other people’s needs.
How are you preaching this week?