Old rule: Preaching is more important than church ministries
New rule: Church ministries are more important than preaching
This rule change is one of the most difficult to take on board as the key issue is not the decreased importance of preaching but the enormous increase in the value placed on church ministries.
Because of the high value placed on preaching in the past and the fact that the senior pastor would preach most of the time, churches often became known as ‘Pastor X’s church’ – the high visibility of this role in church life, as compared to other tasks, also led to the joke about ministers only working one day a week!
Today preaching is like the role of a great quarterback in American football – important, if not vital, but unlikely to deliver success if part of a weak team. The pastor depends on other team members for support and also watches from the sidelines as other team players fulfil their roles.
Music in worship, teaching and training, children’s work, youth ministry, pastoral care, evangelism, social outreach ministry, discipleship, finance and facilities – all come into the team roles. Quality in these areas is highly valued and attractive to church members – and may carry a weaker preacher. The opposite is not true – a strong preacher is unlikely to be able to carry weak ministry teams. People choose churches and stay there for many more reasons than in the past and most of these reasons are spread over church ministries.
I disagree on this one, probably because I am a preacher. I would prefer to say that now both are equally important. It is true that some churches are built to a preaching gift, other to a worship ministry, but those that seem to really progress combine excellent preaching and high quality church ministries.