Putting First Things First Michael Duduit July 1 “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…” (I Corinthians 1:17)No one could accuse Paul of having his priorities confused. Writing to his young brother in the faith Timothy (I Timothy 1:17), Paul identified himself as a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher — in that order. Again and again in his letters he refers to the centrality of his role as preacher of the gospel. Though he was called on to serve in other capacities — church planter, fund raiser, evangelist and more — Paul never allowed himself to forget that his primary calling was to preach Christ.The pastor in the 1980’s faces countless temptations to lose sight of the centrality of preaching in his ministry. The demands of the pastorate are heavy: counseling, administration, visits, meetings, and on and on it goes. In the flurry of pastoral duties that demand your attention, preaching can easily be neglected — perhaps banished to a few frantic moments of preparation.As important as those other responsibilities may be, they can never substitute for the high calling to preach the gospel. This publication was born out of the earnest conviction that only a renewal of evangelical preaching can restore the power and purpose for which our churches search — and which so many God-called ministers prayerfully seek. As Clyde Fant has reminded us, “Nothing is more sought today by laymen and preachers alike than a meaningful sound from the pulpit.”There is no greater need in the church than authentic, effective Biblical preaching. This periodical is dedicated to assisting pastors and other Christian communicators in their divine task of preaching the gospel. Though other areas of ministry deserve attention — which they receive in other fine publications — our focus in these pages will be specifically on the pulpit. Our goal is helping you fulfill your divine call to preach the Word.As a new ministry, we seek your guidance. Let us know ways in which Preaching can be of greatest value to you. Offer comments, suggestions and criticism that will help us meet the needs you face in the study and the pulpit. Share with us out of your own storehouse of knowledge and experience.I look forward to hearing from you. I hope you’ll look forward to hearing from us.Statement of PurposePreaching is an evangelical, interdenominational periodical dedicated to enriching the ministries of those who are called to proclaim the Word of God. Certain basic theological precepts form the editorial foundation of this publications:1. A commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and to the inspiration and authority of Scripture as the Word of God.2. A commitment to evangelism, made necessary by man’s sin and resulting separation from God, through bringing men and women into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. The call to salvation is a call to repentance, faith, and commitment to Christ as Lord of one’s life.3. A commitment to the centrality of the local church in the ongoing work of the Kingdom of God in history.4. A commitment to preaching as a revelatory act in which God, through His Holy Spirit and His revealed Word, declared His Word through human messengers. The purpose of preaching is to draw all persons to Christ and to aid in developing believers as functioning members of the Body of Christ. The final result of preaching should be changed lives and the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.