What is the Teach/Preach?

What is the teach/preach?  I have been doing a lot of thinking about preaching in the last couple months.  In fact, Bryan Catherman and I have spent a lot of time recording podcasts, writing, and thinking about Christian preaching and teaching.  We agree that every Christian is called to preach the Gospel at some level; meaning, all Christians are called to explain the word of God to some group of people whether it is their coworkers, family, or the congregation God has called them to shepherd.  The goal of all preaching should be to explain the Word of God in a way that calls people to submit their lives to Christ and to effect real change in the lives of our listeners.

Church. PreacherAs I have thought about Christian preaching and teaching I have identified what I think to be the three primary forms we experience in the church.  These include discussion, the teach/preach, and pulpit style preaching.  Take a look at my definitions below and let me know what you think.  I am particularly interested in feedback on the teach/preach.  I think the teach/preach is an underutilized and yet very effective model of preaching that we utilize quite a bit at Risen Life Church. 

I. Discussion – Use: one on one Meeting, community group, friends getting together.
Mainly opinion based discussion.  Should feel like a group of people brainstorming on a topic or text from the Bible trying to arrive at correct understanding.  The goal should be to create an honest wrestling with the concepts of scripture.  Often in one on one meetings the topic may be unknown at the outset.  In regularly meeting groups the main points of what is to be discussed from the Biblical text should be prepared beforehand and discussion should track with those points.

As a called discussion leader, it is their responsibility to bring correct thought, right answers, and right application to the discussion through a Biblical text or a Biblically informed opinion.  The leader should ask leading questions that drive the listener to arrive on his own at the Gospel solution.  If the listener never arrives at the solution, the leader should deliver the answer.  Arrival at Gospel based solutions can be assisted by first creating some sort of tension or disconnect in the listener and then resolving the tension with a Gospel solution.

II. The Teach/Preach – Use: Bible study, larger group settings, intimate retreats.
The teach/preach combines elements of discussion as well as elements of more pulpit style preaching.  The teach/preach should have an outline similar to a sermon.  The main points are decided, there are key illustrations, the text is definite.  The teach/preach is marked by sections of preaching with group discussion interspersed.

One way to approach teach/preaching is to roll out questions that stir interest, create tension on the subject, and evenly divide the audience along major views.  This helps to get at the heart of the issue as each person is thinking about where they stand on what is being taught.  When the discussion reaches its height of tension, it is the job of the preacher to preach the Gospel answer similar to what he would do in the pulpit.  The discussion has revealed a heartfelt need and the questions have drilled into that need.  The sermonic answers have fulfilled that need with the Gospel.  The intensity and length of the discussion should track along with the importance of the points being preached.

III. Pulpit Style Preaching – Use: Sunday morning church, large gatherings, street corners.

Pulpit style preaching is usually a monologue.  The main points have been decided from a Biblical text and put together in a way that brings understanding of the text to the audience.  The preacher’s sermon also moves from an understanding of a text to the application of that text in the lives of the listeners.  Finally the sermon should be delivered in a way that moves the hearers to make a change in their life through the Gospel.


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