Yesterday I wrote about taking the congregation into account when you preach. I also mentioned that this relationship between preaching and Church life is two-way, so today I want to discuss the impact that preaching should have on Church life.
A wonderful and dramatic example of this on a large scale would be when Simon Pettit preached at the Brighton Leaders conference in 1998 on Remember the Poor. The impact this had on New Frontiers was enormous, God spoke through that message and the whole of New Frontiers was transformed. Social action now is a massive part of the ministry of New Frontiers, and I believe always will be as a result of Simons talk.
Of course its unlikely that we will see changes so dramatic as this in our local Churches, but there should at least be some signs of change. This is good news for Church leaders, because the pulpit is a truly effective place to lead from. If there are issues of disunity within the Church they can be addressed from the pulpit, if there are is a lack of zeal for evangelism then it can be addressed from the pulpit. Lets not forget though that the work has to begin with the preacher, in wrestling throughsermon preparation the life changing effect of the word should have begun before Sunday morning so that the congregation dont just hear it, they also see it worked out in his life.
This is also useful in some ways as a litmus test for your preaching and for the spiritual life of the Church. If you are seeing very little change resulting from the preaching then something is probably wrong. Not necessarily your preaching itself, but that would be agood place to start looking.