At this point, I will briefly describe my own personal approach to expository preaching. While I have always maintained the same basic approach to study and preaching, I tend to always be refining and developing that approach. If I read or am exposed to some good ideas that I think might enhance my ability to study more effectively or preach a text more thoroughly, I try to implement it into my approach. So the follow posts simply reflect the pattern I now follow after about nineteen years of preaching. Furthermore, I don’t tend to think that everyone or really anyone ought to pursue the preaching process the same way I do. This is merely my approach. I am certainly open to enhancement, question, correction or rebuke.
The ministry context in which I find myself creates a unique opportunity and presents a few challenges. I share the regular preaching ministry with what our church calls a co-pastor. We are equal in terms of authority and responsibility within the church. My partner preaches each Sunday morning, generally focusing on Old Testament texts. I preach each Sunday evening, with a primary focus upon New Testament texts.
In reality, while our titles may be that of co-pastors, we actually have a team of pastors, three of which preach regularly. The third pastor oversees out children’s and student ministries and is preaching every Sunday morning and evening to these students, yet he also fills the pulpit to the adult congregation if either of the other two are absent on a given Sunday. Our congregation seems to have benefited greatly from this approach to ministry.
One of the challenges of this approach is that I do not have multiple settings where I have the ability to model and/or practice many other types of preaching. For example, in preaching in only one public service a week, I do not have the liberty to preach a topical sermon Sunday morning, an expositional sermon Sunday evening and a biographical message on Wednesday, as some men may be able to do. Our team approach tends to limit my ability to cover various genre of biblical literature as frequently as I would be able if I had multiple preaching venues.
However, the benefits tend to outweigh any of the drawbacks. First, I have the privilege and responsibility of listening to another preacher in my congregation every week. I am personally exposed to expository preaching just as the rest of the church body. I benefit from listening and personally considering how I should apply texts that have been exposited on the Lord’s Day. Also, I am able to focus my study and preaching time and energies on a single portion of Scripture, rather than being forced into so many preaching preparations, that I give marginal time to each one. Furthermore, I am free to focus on and cultivate other gifts and ministries in the church, not being under the strain of three to five fresh preparations each week.
Another benefit to this team approach to preaching is that our congregation is exposed to three expository preachers who each approach the text faithfully, but with different personalities and different emphases. Our people are not exposed to merely one popular voice, but three shepherds who each involve themselves in the oversight of their souls.