The Disciple-Making Preacher

Preaching is under attack.

Many have already abandoned preaching for newer, more trendy methods. Others have decided that Jesus and the apostles never preached the way we preach today. Still others have problems with authority. Finally, there are some who simply have never heard a good sermon or have never delivered one themselves and have concluded that sermons are ineffective in the church.

Some have not only abandoned preaching but have made it their mission to preach an anti-preaching message. They constantly oppose the straw man preacher who hides behind a pulpit and delivers a boring 30 minute monologue to a disinterested congregation.

This assault on preaching leads us to carefully consider the following questions:

What is the goal of preaching?”

“Is preaching still a helpful means of making disciples?”

“What are the features of a disciple making sermon?”

“How do we respond to those who have abandoned preaching?”

dm preacher

This post is the introduction to a series of posts that will seek to answer these questions.

I hope to encourage the preacher to persist in their faithful study and delivery of Biblical sermons. I hope to explore the role of preaching in disciple making. Finally, I hope to give parishioners some comfort and cautions so that they too don’t begin to devalue the preaching event.

Along the way, maybe some who are abandoning or attacking preaching will see the valuable role that preaching plays in making disciples. I want to invite people from all sorts of perspectives and backgrounds to join in the conversation (you might want to review my comments policy first).

The Disciple Making Preacher Series

Here is a rough draft of upcoming posts. I’ll be updating this page whenever I publish a new post. Feel free to link to this page and come back often. You can also subscribe to my blog via rss or email.

  • Against Preaching: The Anti-Authoritarian Mood
  • Against Preaching: Preaching In A Media-saturated Culture
  • Against Preaching: The Rise of Relativity
  • Against Preaching: Views on New Testament Preaching
  • Against Preaching: Poor Preaching and Puny Preachers
  • Definitions: What Is Disciple Making?
  • Definitions: What Is Preaching?
  • Definitions: What Is the Church?
  • The Goal of Preaching
  • Preaching Is Information (Logos)
  • Preaching Is Inspiration (Pathos)
  • Preaching Is Spiritual Formation (Ethos)
  • The Practices Of A Disciple Making Preacher
  • Is Preaching the Primary Tool for Disciple Making?
  • The Features of A Disciple Making Sermon
  • The Role of the Listener in Preaching
  • The Responsibility of the Listener in Preaching
Note: The inspiration for the title of this series comes from The Disciple Making Pastor and The Disciple Making Church by Bill Hull.

Nathan is the pastor of City Life Church in Ridgewood, NY. He and his family are committed to making and multiplying disciples in the most diverse county in the US. Read more about Nathan here. Visit the City Life Church website here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Next week, in my preaching class, my sessions is titled, “Preaching is Discipleship”… it is a bummer your did no finish this series a month ago. I look forward to the series.

    • nathancreitz

      Thanks J.R. Since you beat me to it, I’d love to get your notes. At the very least I’m looking forward to your comments and insights on the upcoming posts.

      • I wish I had some 🙂 I am putting it together now, and hope to have a 10 minute video up next week 🙂

  • Sara

    I think “problem with authority” implies that the authority should be there. Some people butt heads with existing authority figures, but some don’t believe that the authority figure should exist. Yeah, I found the one sentence that ha little to do with the topic and nitpicked it. I guess I’m a troll.

    • nathancreitz

      I wouldn’t have called you a troll. I appreciate your point and this is precisely where a lot of people check out on preaching. I think this is partly because there are some preachers who think THEY are the one who has the authority. Power corrupts. Instead, they should realize they are no more than the donkey Jesus wants to use to ride into the city. In other words, any authority should be the authority of God’s Word. Preaching elders should proclaim what God has said in His Word. If He speaks heresy then the entire congregation is responsible to confront and correct him. If he speaks truth, and they don’t obey then they need to be confronted and corrected. If he speaks truth, and they obey then they are not obeying the preacher they are obeying God. When that happens, disciples grow.

  • Looking forward to this series. Forgive me if i’m being over analytical here, but are we assuming that preaching and teaching are the same thing? If we are, then I see no disconnect between discipling through preaching. If we are saying that they are indeed different, then preaching is simply the proclamation of the Gospel (Evangelism) and teaching is discipleship. I don’t like creating a dichotomy where there is none, but I’ve been thinking lately that discipleship, which includes “teaching them to obey all that Christ commanded, comes from a different subset of data than the Gospel. That is, If we say that the Gospel is the proclamation of the Kingdom and it’s coming King (among many other components)

    I’ll be glad to go into greater detail if I’ve been unclear.

    • nathancreitz

      Thanks Miguel and no need to apologize. They are similar but I do like to make one distinction: Preaching is teaching, but preaching is more than teaching. It isn’t simply a transfer of information, the goal is to provoke one another to love and good works. The goal is to “teach them to obey all that I have commanded them”. I’ll define it more fully later, and I’d love to get “feedforward”, but preaching is prophetic, edifying, inspirational, and educational (among many other things).

      So, I guess I would slightly differ with you on the dichotomy between preaching and teaching. I see preaching as proclamation of the Gospel AND teaching. But I see teaching as ONLY for the purpose of increasing our knowledge (also important but to a lesser degree). In other words, I had seminary professors who taught me but most of my growth as a follower of Jesus has been in the context of community under faithful shepherds who are leading us with preaching and teaching.

      I’m sure this isn’t explaining my point completely but, as I said, I’ll put more flesh on the bones throughout the series. Thanks for the questions and the discussion. That’s what’s going to make this series better.

  • I think preaching is like eating. I only remember a handful of specific meals that I’ve eaten in my life. Some meals I’ve had weren’t that good. Some over-promised and under-delivered. But at the end of the day, I’m a healthy person who is alive and growing due, in part, to eating! Preaching is the same way. I need solid, consistent preaching in my life.
    Looking forward to this series.

    • nathancreitz

      Great analogy and I agree. We also wouldn’t go a day without eating so those who rely completely on the weekly sermon from the pastor aren’t healthy either. Thanks for joining the discussion!