Let's preach together! : a resource for lay preaching
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This project proposes to help congregations unleash the reservoir of persons gifted to preach, assisting them in fulfilling the Lord's command to be his "witnesses" until he returns, through an examination of some pertinent biblical and theological data, largely from the witness of Luke/Acts, which not only encourages it, but even requires it. Beyond this, and perhaps even in a more helpful, practical way, this project points toward a methodology for the discovery, recruitment, equipment, encouragement and deployment of every believer as a proclaimer of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Chapter One offers a kind of "prelude" to lay preaching. It discusses a select range of concerns that have been discovered in the process that need to be addressed before a congregation can affirm the ministry of lay preaching. The range of concerns have to do with the nature of ministry as a responsibility "shared" by lay and clergy alike, an understanding of the church as a rightful intruder in the "world's settled arrangement", and the nature of preaching as a natural response to the experience of the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
Chapter Two provides an analysis of the "advance" and "growth" of the Word of God in Luke and Acts. Of particular concern are Luke's "progress reports in Acts 6:7, 12:12, and 19:20. This chapter demonstrates that the Word of God grows and prevails and in a certain manner of speaking draws the church into proclamation. The proclamation of the gospel is witnessed in Acts in several varying models, such as teaching, conversation, witness, encouragement, argument, and even something that may be identified as spiritual inquiry.
Chapter Three offers a plan for the recruitment, equipment and support of lay preachers. A ten session course outline is proposed to demonstrate the kinds of concerns that need to be addressed in the recruitment/equipment process. The concerns range from a review of the varying models for preaching provided in Acts, to dealing with some more pastoral and personal concerns such as development of "people eyes", and "facing our fears."
Chapter Four, "Responding to Questions: A Theological Prescript", deals with some of the questions that I have encountered throughout the process of research and writing. For the most part the questions were clarifying/expanding questions, but one particular question struck at the heart of the project, "How would your congregation be different than it is, or look different than it does, if this (project paper) were fully implemented?"