“There is no one activity that a pastor does that can have a greater influence on the vitality of the congregation than preaching,” Adam Hamilton wrote in his book Leading Beyond the Walls: Developing Congregations with a Heart for the Unchurched. Hamilton is profiled in the July-August 2003 issue of Good News magazine.
“If a pastor is a poor preacher and does not devote sufficient time to preparing sermons, the entire congregation will suffer,” Hamilton says. “If a pastor prepares well-researched and thoughtful sermons with clear relevance and application for her or his congregants and delivers them with passion, conviction and clarity, the entire congregation will reap the benefits.”
The Good News article goes on: “This is never more true than when the church’s aim is to draw the unchurched or non-religious person into a committed relationship with Christ. Yet preaching carries a negative connotation and is often one of the deterrents to non-believers in their search for faith. At Church of the Resurrection (COR), where 70 percent of the 12,000 members report that they were previously unchurched or nominally religious, one of the top reasons often given as a reason for joining the congregation is the preaching. According to Hamilton, laypeople are looking for sermons that are interesting, relevant, biblical, understandable, offer clear application to the hearer’s daily life, address real-life issues and are preached with conviction, passion, love, integrity and humility.'”