Preaching & the Spiritual Growth of Church Members

In my 51 years, of all the types and styles of preaching and teaching I have witnessed, there is none that so promotes and sustains the spiritual growth of local church members than expository preaching. It simply cannot be beat. While God does indeed work in various ways and means to strengthen our lives toward godliness and conformity to His Son, if one were to search down through the annals of church history, it is the expository preaching of the Bible that has blessed and strengthened the Church more than anything else.

Sadly, there are many local churches that give more attention and devote more time to other things, such as singing repetitive, contemporary songs which, while they may certainly drum up emotions and a fellowship “experience”, they neither strengthen nor sustain the deepening of the spiritual lives of a church member. It may be enjoyable, yet it will not transform the mind of a Christian, and transformation is the business we are to be about.

We witness much these days, many times in very strange ways, that God’s people attempt to deepen their spiritual lives. I am reminded of the story where a woman, in a very sincere attempt at this very thing, created a box with holes in it. In each hole she had placed a rolled up piece of paper on which she had written a Bible verse. Whenever the woman felt she needed instruction and guidance from God regarding a matter, she would pull out a verse from the holes at random, and almost magically, she hoped, God would speak to her and give her the desired answer.

While there is certainly nothing wrong or detrimental in selecting different texts from Scripture with good exegesis, I do believe that to make long practice of this may influence the congregation to begin to think similarly when in their homes, randomly selecting a verse here and then there, with the hope of getting almost a personal message from God, and, over time, a deeper spiritual life. If not careful, it could easily become a practice of mysticism.

No, the transforming of our spiritual lives, both preacher and congregant, will be best served by the transforming power of expository preaching, preaching and teaching the Scriptures as they were written, in a spirit of prayer. In fact, if at all possible brethren, preach and teach book by book, as written and delivered to us. Both preacher and congregant will benefit immensely over time.

Expository preaching is the answer to such spiritual transformation. It is the only sure way to deepen the spiritual growth of the members of our local churches.