August 4, 2020

Open Mic at the iMonk Cafe: Preaching is….Preaching is not.

openmic1It’s a simple question for this edition of open mic.

Preaching is ________________. And/Or Preaching is not ________________.

Don’t write a novel or even a short story. Keep it compact and to the point.

I especially hope that this open mic question will involve as many non-preachers as possible. Preachers might not know everything there is to know about preaching. Ya think?

The mic is yours. Feel free to offer answers and to discuss answers in the threaded comments.


  1. Preaching is biblical and relevant. Preaching is not a comedy routine.

  2. Preaching is the most difficult thing any mortal will attempt to do. Compared to preaching, flying a manned spacecraft to Jupiter is mere child’s play.

  3. Preaching is not reciting theology. Preaching is proclaiming Jesus to real people.

    • not sure why anyone is posting anything after this. The Bible is all about revealing Christ to the world. So should are preaching, our lives.

    • Steve Newell says

      Good preaching is based on sound theology when proclaiming Jesus. Many claim to proclaim Jesus, but their base theology is not sound which can result in proclaim something other than Christ crucified or a lesser Jesus.

  4. Anita (unashamed) says

    Preaching is about what Jesus did for me preaching is not about what I do for Jesus.

  5. Scott Miller says

    Preaching is sticking to the text, not jumping off on how “faith is like my ipod”. (I’m not joking).

  6. Preaching is the public proclamation of God’s written word in its fullness, thereby administering God’s grace, guidance and encouragement to the hearers. Preaching is not an opportunity for the preacher to hop on their favourite bandwagon and bore the congregation into submission; preaching is not a substitute for the hard-yards and sacrifice required in order to foster spirutual growth and fulfill our calling to be a disciple/make disciples of Christ.

  7. Kevin M. Hodges says

    “Make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, make ’em feel religious.”

    (–from the book “How to be a bishop without being religious”)

  8. Foolishness except to those who are being saved, and not the wisdom ways of this world

  9. Preaching is explaining and applying Scripture….preaching is not just being a good communicator or speaker.

  10. From my wife…

    Preaching is sharing God’s love for you with others. Preaching is not a replacement for loving people yourself.

    I.e. make yourself approachable.

  11. Preaching is fun! Preaching is not fun!

  12. Preaching is letting God use you to deliver His message to His people. It is not delivering our message to our people!

  13. Preaching is an important part of a worship service. Preaching is not the only, or necessarily the most important part of a worship service.

  14. Preaching is the intelligible declaration of who Jesus is, what He has done for us, and what that implies for us and for the world. Preaching is not a religious guilt trip or a self-help pep talk.

    • Steve Newell says

      Good preaching is based on Law & Gospel. Bad preaching is only Law or only Gospel. Many use Law “light” and confuse this with the gospel.

  15. Preaching is digging deeply into Scripture and sharing what you find. Preaching is not sharing your political opinions du jour.

  16. Christopher K. says

    Preaching is proclamation of the Gospel. Preaching is not self-help, feel-goody bunk.

  17. -throws wrench- Preaching, technically, biblically, is telling the good news to those who don’t know it yet. Preaching is not – Teaching. “Overseers” and “Elders” are to be “apt to teach” – not “apt to preach.”

    I know, I know, common usage in this day and time, blah, blah. But speaking of the text, as some are – the text speaks of “preaching” as something done toward the outside, not the inside. I just always found that interesting.

  18. Preaching is informative. Preaching is not just informative.

  19. Seems everyone is confusing “is” with “should be”.

    Preaching is someone giving their opinion. Preaching is not to be confused with hearing from God.

    • Are you suggesting that iMonk is confused about the thrust of his own post?

      • I think what he is suggesting is that most of the lofty ideas expressed in the comments as “preaching is …” describe not “what is” in most of our churches and situations but what “ought to be” …

        • well said, but if we go down the road of what our preaching typically really is, we might never get home; at least not before dark. 🙂

      • I wasn’t thinking that imonk is confused. I was thinking the commenters are. Maybe Michael did mean for people to write what it should and should not be. I didn’t get that idea from the blog post itself.

        • I spending a whole 3 seconds more thinking about it ….

          I think the lofty aspirations are really genuinely dangerous.

          The idea that preaching is more that someone giving their opinion on whatever they are preaching about sets people listening up for not giving the “sermon” a healthy critique.

          It also sets those who preach up for being more presumptuous and dogmatic in their presentation. They often seem to be the first to confuse their opinion with God’s.

          Of course that’s just my opinion. I’ve never really seen any of this happen. ; )

    • I would contend that not everything that goes under the banner of “preaching” properly qualifies for the term in the Christian sense. There is thus a difference between what “is” and “what is commonly called.”

    • When you’re talking about definitions, is and should be are properly entangled.

  20. Preaching is annoying. Preaching is not something I want to hear from strangers.

  21. Jeremiah Lawson says

    Preaching is explaining who Jesus Christ is so that people may put their faith continually in him. This may include, but does not require, heavy use of the scriptures, as Paul’s address to the Athenians demonstrates.

    Anything that falls short of the proclamation of Christ in the flesh as our god and savior, whether through the self help of “your best life now” or “reverse engineering your life”, or through obsessive and idiosyncratic applications of things as sinful that are not sinful, may be preaching, but it is harmful preaching bereft of the good news of Christ. The worst preaching isn’t a failure to preach Christ at all but preaching only part of who Jesus is and part of who we are. Even the best preachers are inevitably guilty of this at some point.

  22. Preaching (in the church) should really be teaching, and is not yelling and screaming and toe-stomping and kicking over mic stands. “Hot, hard, and in your face” does not a good sermon make.

  23. Jeremiah Lawson says

    oops, forgot to mention that preaching is the proclamation of Jesus as the Christ whether or not anyone hearing that preaching believes. If no one believes in Christ because of your preaching you have NOT necessarily failed as a preacher. If people believe in Christ because of your preaching don’t think that you have succeeded when people respond to the work of the Spirit in their hearts. Sorry to ramble but as a non-preacher I feel this last part is something preachers often forget.

  24. Preaching is a proclamation of a message with intent to affect, engage and change the heart of the hearer. It calls for a positive reaction in word, deed and thought. It applies the message to the hearer.

    Preaching is not necessarily explaining Scripture or expounding points of theology or teaching. These things can be done during preaching, but can also be done in a boring lecture or written in a book.

    Now for the content of preaching… that’s a whole ‘nuther series of posts. 🙂

  25. Preaching is an encounter with Christ. Preaching is not a lecture.

  26. Preaching is a fancy word for teaching. Preaching is not the only time or even the primary time when God might show up.

  27. Preaching is expounding the word of God and the teachings of the Church. Preaching is not jokes, anecdotes, inspirational stories, good advice, or even morality.

  28. Preaching is a pastoral address to a flock. Preaching is not a seminary lecture or exegetical exercise.

  29. Preaching is a dual responsibility to God and to the flock. Preaching is not either of these in isolation.

  30. Preaching is letting people know about the unconditional, overwhelming love that God has for people, as shown by Jesus. Preaching is not all hell and damnation.

  31. Preaching is helpful and biblical. Preaching is not the most formative practice in the church.

  32. david hughes says

    Preaching is the opportunity to take what someone said and allow the Holy Spirit to turn the message into an opportunity.
    Preaching is not not an opportunity to lambaste the believers in front of you for their ineffectiveness to manage their journey.

  33. Preaching is about proclaiming Christ crucified and pointing people to the cross.

    Preaching is not about your best life now, your purpose-driven life, or the pastor’s life as the model to follow

  34. Preaching is forgiving the sins of the hearers by proclaiming Christ crucified. Preaching is not inspiring, encouraging, or telling stirring stories.

  35. Preaching is about proclaiming the gospel, preaching is not about the process of becoming a better person.

  36. Preaching is part of setting the stage for people to encounter God. Preaching is not merely rehashing the gospel reading as though it were the evening news.

  37. Preaching is incarnating the role of Andrew: using the text to fashion a thousand dirrerent invitations that all say the same thing: “you have GOT to come and meet this Teacher I met…..come and see….”

  38. Preaching is helping people know more about God. Preaching is not pushing people to believe the same as you.

  39. David Ulrich says

    Preaching is proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost.

    Preaching is not giving a prepared speech (sermon).

  40. Preaching is: a Kind of dying to self, a conscious walk into the lions den where the one who preaches gives themselves over to the judgment of God for the sake of Jesus with the expectation and hope that the Spirit will speak through the proclaiming of the gospel boldly spoken through their lips.

    Preaching is not; most of what is said.

  41. From scripture I see it this way.

    Preaching is speaking what we would call evangelism and missions. Preaching is not a “pastor” delivering a sermon to a church group.

  42. When most think of what preaching is, the first idea that comes to mind is pounding over people’s head what the “preacher” wants them to adhere to (my parents preached to me, my boss preached to me, the teacher was preaching to me, Papa Don’t Preach, etc).

  43. Preaching is a monologue. Preaching is not a substitute for conversation with people about truth.

  44. Preaching is coming up with a good acrostic or multiple words that start with the same letter so that people can write them down in their notes. Or so I’ve learned from the megachurch that we are finally looking to leave.

  45. Preaching is not a substitute for God. Preaching is not the be-all or end-all. Preaching is a pastor’s faithful and humble attempt to continually remind his congregation of important truths and teachings of Jesus and other scriptures. The preaching only has meaning and relevance because the truths and teachings of Jesus and scripture have meaning and relevance, and that because Jesus and God who breathed the scriptures have meaning and relevance (at the risk of understatement.)

  46. Preaching is not three points, a poem and a dog story.

  47. Preaching is a powerful tool that is for the most part used to beat the sheep.

  48. Preaching is about Jesus, the gospel and those who hear and seek. Preaching is not about the preacher.

  49. Preaching is speaking as if it were the very utterances of GOD….by folks who are 100% convinced that they are not (GOD).

  50. The word preaching is loaded with horrible connotations. It is Christianese. Teaching is a much more friendly and positive word. There is no difference between the two words other than connotation. Jesus was a rabbi, which means teacher, not preacher.

    • Preaching just means proclaming. Not sure that content or context really matter.

      I think we are the ones who put an undue value on the medium.

    • Actually, this isn’t quite true. The Greek for preaching is kerugma, whereas, the Greek for teaching is didaskalos. They are related but not exactly synonymous. George is correct that preaching technically means to proclaim, whereas teaching implies learning. They are not mutually exclusive, but they are not identical either.

      As far as Jesus goes, Matthew 4:17 says that Jesus proclaimed (not taught), whereas 4:23, 9:35, and 11:1 say he did both. So it seems more likely that Jesus was both a teacher and a preacher, and all I’ve cited is Matthew.