Have you ever experienced ‘group preaching?’ I discussed recently, with interest, a preaching concept shared recently from a different denomination. Each Sunday one of the leaders is assigned the main task of preaching the Word of God. After his sermon, any of the other leaders of the congregation, who have also studied the same passage during the week, are permitted and encouraged to add further observations, interpretations or applications to what has been preached. I think it models a unity and accountability which would actually strengthen the congregation.
I think the group in question is perhaps seeking to emulate Nehemiah 8 or Acts 2.
In the Old Testament account, Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform before the assembly of God’s people. “Beside him on his right stood 6 leaders and on his left stood another 7 leaders.” Ezra opened the book and read from it. The Levites instructed the people from the Book of the Law, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.”
In the New Testament account, Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd. Though the other apostolic leaders are not recorded as speaking, their standing with Peter affirmed their support of his leadership and unity before the congregation.
Some preachers are more gifted than others. Preaching is like a muscle which develops with use, but of course the ‘raw material’ has to be there for it to be developed! I’m passionate about the formal and informal instruction offered through Homiletics (Preaching) classes at Bible Colleges and Seminaries. We’re blessed with training like that provided by the Simeon Trust and The Olford Centre for Expository Preaching. I watch and listen to a variety of preachers–the skills and strategies vary tremendously, and communication is a dynamic process. Some of my best instruction has come from those who’ve ‘endured’ or ‘experienced’ (there is a difference!!) my attempts to rightly handle the word of truth!
In Acts 2 Peter is clearly the main preacher, but as the book of Acts continues others share this responsibility. In our next post we’ll see how Peter interprets the circumstances and the Scripture as he breaks a Spirit-empowered, Christ-centred sermon which resulted in 3,000 conversions!