5 Reasons Pastors Should Give Preaching Opportunities To Others In The Church

Man reflecting on bible

Posted by Todd Linn, PhD on November 19, 2021

Most pastors consider weekly preaching {and teaching1} to be their greatest ministry responsibility. For this reason, many pastors are reluctant to miss a preaching opportunity and, when absent, rely only upon pastor friends or other outside speakers. To be sure, members rightly expect their pastors to be in the pulpit more often than not, and protecting the church from the possibility of doctrinal error often explains a pastor’s unwillingness to open the pulpit to others.

At the same time, however, periodically granting opportunities to trusted individuals within the church is a discipleship opportunity that offers many blessings. Here are five reasons pastors should consider giving preaching opportunities to members within the congregation:

1) It Allows Others To Use Their Gifts

If others in the church have gifts for teaching and preaching, then giving them occasional opportunities to fill the pulpit edifies the church. Certainly other staff ministers may be utilized from time to time as well as gifted deacons or volunteer leaders who can be trusted to preach.

2) It May Help Some Discern A Ministry Calling

If a member senses the Lord is calling him to pastoral ministry, then preaching is one way that call may be affirmed. There are other considerations, of course, and pastors will meet regularly with such individuals to discern how the Lord is moving. Many pastors develop pastoral internships to aid in the process. Giving such men an opportunity to preach is one way to determine whether the Lord is, in fact, calling them to pastoral ministry.

3) It Develops Future Pastors

Similar to helping some discern a call to ministry, giving current ministry staff opportunities to preach may prepare them for future roles in pastoral ministry. Many gifted staff ministers have few opportunities to exercise their preaching and teaching gifts beyond their current ministry roles. Most men serving their churches as youth pastors, family and children pastors, or serving in other capacities, are happy to preach when asked and enjoy using and developing their speaking gifts. And, while using their gifts may lead to God’s calling them to another ministry setting, such moves should be celebrated, however bittersweet! Just this past Sunday, I was blessed to worship in a church pastored by a young man who developed many of his gifts for preaching and pastoring while serving alongside me on staff in a church I pastored.

4) It Gives Busy Pastors A Break

For most of my ministry, I preached two entirely different sermons each week. That practice became especially challenging in my former pastorate where I preached the morning message three times. Allowing pastoral interns, deacons, and other staff to preach in many of the evening services was a huge help to me personally.

5) It Broadens Others’ Appreciation For Preaching Preparation

When others in the church fill the pulpit, they tend to grow in their appreciation for the time invested by their pastor in weekly preaching. They learn firsthand something of the commitment involved and they tend to communicate this knowledge to others in ways that strengthen the church.

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