Thursday, January 20, 2011

What is Preaching?

The other day I was asked as part of a class assignment whether or not I had ever preached before. (It was for preaching class, so it was a very logical question).  I found that questions harder to answer than I first thought. To answer that question I first had to define what it was to preach.  If I decided that to preach was to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord, then I would have to answer yes.  If I decided that to preach was to give a sermon, then I'd have to define sermon and that just complicates matters more.  So I answered "I don't know", which earned me some quizzical looks from my classmates and professor.
Is it preaching or sermonizing when you have a dozen elementary and middle school children sitting around you on a bridge while you retell Bible stories? What about when you sit around a fire with many dozen college students and share stories of how G-d has brought healing in your life?  Does that count as a sermon?  What about the poor business man who was sitting next to the mission team I was part of as we headed to Cameroon?  When we shared the Gospel with him, was that preaching?  Does it count as preaching when I translated what the speaker was saying around a campfire in former East Germany from English to German or German to English?  Does preaching have to be your own words?
It's probably a good thing I'm in a preaching class.  Maybe I'll actually learn what preaching is. However, I welcome your feedback.  What is preaching?

1 comment:

Dutchfish said...

Joy, I really enjoyed this post. It is a good question and I am interested to hear the verdict. Where do we draw lines and definitions between preaching, sermonizing, evangelizing, witnessing, etc. I am someone who hasn't fully discovered my "preaching style" yet, but I have a real problem with overt messaging/pushy preaching/guilt gospels... so that begs the question, what is preaching, but with yet another twist...