Rev. W. Darin Moore, Pastor of Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion Church, Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
The one thing most needed for church renewal is practical preaching. In an age when some have proclaimed the impending “death” of preaching, where so many have found preaching useless and dated, in a time where throngs of even the most devout church going population questions if preaching is worth their taking the time to listen, this practice, as old as the Faith itself, remains the one thing that has the power to draw the hearts of worshipers, transform the lives of its devotees, capture the attention of seekers, and provide hope for a dying world.
Even in Paul’s day, the merits of preaching were discounted by the elites. But what others called “foolishness,” Paul called powerful. Could it be that we have neglected the very aspect of ministry that sets us apart? The church must always be the community of love, witnessing to our faith through acts of justice and kindness in the world; however, one can argue that such expressions of love and community can be found in alternative places. The one unique aspect of the Christian Church is that it is the only place where the proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord is central.
The example of the Apostle Paul reminds us that we cannot be timid or reserved in our preaching. We must boldly proclaim that we are “not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). Practical preaching must be unapologetically grounded in scripture, while speaking to the contemporary issues people encounter daily. We, as preachers, must speak to the holistic needs of our audiences, both churched and unchurched, in ways that are relevant yet timeless, passionate yet authentic, and accessible yet substantive.
As a result of powerful, practical Christ-centered preaching, the church experienced growth, cultivated intimate worship, witnessed in the face of persecution, and formed communities of faith and love in a hostile culture. This is the preaching that must be reclaimed in the life of the church, preaching the resurrected Christ, not as a metaphor, but as a living reality, active in transforming and renewing our world, our lives, and the church.
This manner of preaching is Spirit led and Spirit empowered to provide clear insights on the person, work, and message of Jesus and seeks to offer practical applications for all who would be like Christ. Paul explains: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:4-5).
Practical preaching, preaching which speaks with clarity to the needs, hopes, spirits, hurts and pains of people, is what is most needed for church renewal.
This site is a resource for church renewal offered by United Theological Seminary.