How Many Times Should a Preacher Preach?

Preachers and their churches occasionally have differing expectations regarding how many times the preacher will deliver a message each week. Some churches expect serious, sermon-type preaching three times each week: Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening. Some preachers are pressed to develop a single expository sermon for Sunday morning alone.

Add to the expectation mix times for prayer meetings (do we actually pray at “prayer meetings” anymore? that’s a different subject), visitation, and other church functions, and soon the stamina of the pastor and tolerance of the congregation might be put to the test.

What Do You Think?

What is a minimum of preaching? Maximum? What other things are “must-haves” for the health of the congregation?

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12 Responses to How Many Times Should a Preacher Preach?

  1. Jerry says:

    Maybe I am dense, but I have always figured that the Holy Spirit is able to guide Christ’s preachers into making these decisions based upon the needs of the body.

    It might be that a John Wesley will preach many, many times each week to differing audiences and others will preach a couple of times a week to the same flock.

    However, I am sure that somebody at Lifeway will soon put out recommendations from on high.

    Jerrys last blog post..How stingy can you get?

  2. Luke Britt says:

    I think if the pastor has other pastors he should let them bear the burden, so to speak. If they are expecting him to preach 3x per week and he has to neglect other things in order to do this, or vice versa, he should share the pulpit. Of course how much he does this is up to the pastors of the church and his needs.

  3. Jason Adkins says:

    I really appreciate how my pastor organizes the teaching at our church. He preaches expositionally on Sunday mornings, and Wednesday nights, he does more of an inductive Bible study. He is gracious, though, to give many brothers at our church preparing for ministry the chance to preach on Sunday nights. We do a service review after the Sunday night service, and this is an invaluable learning time.

    Jason Adkinss last blog post..The Danger of the Lord’s Supper

  4. Brother Hank says:

    At least once, no more than infinity.

    That should settle it.

    Oh yeah, and that whole St. Francis of Assisi thing… you know what I’m talking about. (Which I think is severely lacking in both practical application, and the place of spoken, propositional truth/ narrative, fyi.)

    Brother Hanks last blog post..On the Ethics of In Vitro Fertilization

  5. Brother Hank: I wish I had thought of that obvious truism…or the one my partner always quoted: “How long is a piece of string?”

    Jerry: true, the Spirit should guide the conscience of the minister, but with SBC preachers leaving churches every three years or so, something is not quite lining up, unless the Spirit desires us to play musical pulpits.

    Jason: kudos to your church…that plan sounds good. Does your church schedule visitation or prayer at other times? Just wondering.

    I suppose that the issue I wanted to explore was just how much teaching/preaching is necessary to be considered a biblical New Testament church. There are those congregations that put pressure on a pastor to “preach” as little as possible, and to ‘hold church’ only on the ‘sanctified’ days of the week (Sunday and Wednesday) because the rest is off limits to God. Can a a congregation be healthy receiving solid teaching only on Sunday morning?

    Rob Faircloths last blog post..Take Calvin off the Shelf

  6. Matt Svoboda says:

    However many times Spurgeon preached…

    Wait… We are all way behind. Nevermind. However much a pastor feels he needs to do based on his ministry!

    Matt Svobodas last blog post..A New Blog! "Evangelical Village"

  7. Bradley says:

    Ministers might have justifiable reasons for leaving a church, but Longevity of location is the ideal and superior model (all things being equal) for effective ministry.

    Bradleys last blog post..Tag …. you’re it!

  8. Jerry says:

    As to the “musical pulpits” aspect of short pastorates, I don’t believe that this is related to frequency of preaching so much as content of preaching.

    Many topical preachers run out of steam around the three year mark and then either they or the congregation decide that it would be best for him to take his show on the road.

    If you have to continually come up with cute “timely” topics then you might very well be challenged to develop even one per week. By expositionally opening up God’s Word, and engaging God’s people with it, you never run out of material. Additionally, it is very comforting to say “Hey folks, I didn’t choose to preach on this particular sin of ours, but we cannot be faithful to God’s Word without addressing it.”

    Most of my sermon preparation consists of being in the Word and being daily challenged by it, thus vastly simplifying sermon preparation. As a bivocational pastor I often don’t have control over my schedule (nobody really does) thus studying ahead allows me some leeway should my schedule become hostage to the crisis du jour.

    While I appreciate my homiletics training (SWBTS, MDiv ’89), I now realize that much of what was taught in class was geared towards the topical preacher. Very little of it transferred over to my actual situation, unlike my Biblical and Systematic Theology studies which have stood me well over the years.

    Jerrys last blog post..Too bad that it is too close to the truth

  9. The ministry of the Word is crucial and central to the health of any church. Our pastor preaches expositionally on Sunday mornings and topically on Sunday evenings. We also have other Bible studies taking place in Sunday School and in men’s and women’s groups.

    I think the responsibility of pastors to teach every member of the church (Eph. 4:11-12) to take personal Bible study seriously should not be overlooked, as well.

    > do we actually pray at “prayer meetings” anymore?

    That is a different subject, but a good one. I also think a church can’t be healthy without regular corporate prayer. At our church on Wednesday evenings we share our needs and requests, read a Psalm, and pray. We usually have to cut it off after an hour because we have so much participation (and we’re a small church).

    Barry Wallaces last blog post..Eternally increasing JOY

  10. Paul Brown says:

    It seems that this needs to be a subject of discernment as there isn’t, as far as I know, any passage of Scripture that would specify how often there ought to be preaching at church. It seems to me that as a practical matter, once per week is enough. Churches ought to have several men who are qualified and able to teach, so the burden of teaching ought to be spread out rather than all placed on one “head pastor”.

    Paul Browns last blog post..The Great Good Place by Ray Oldenburg

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  12. Expository preaching – definitely!
    Building ministers by developing their theology and letting them in the pulpit – definitely!

    Not all churches are so blessed, but we have a pretty deep bench. Skip, our senior pastor, only preaches Sunday mornings. (He’s made it through the first seven chapters of Romans this past year.) The Minister of Education, Minister of Evangelism and Youth Pastor share Sunday nights. Wednesday nights we have seminary-level theology and ministerial classes accredited for those who need continuing ed points. When you’re in the business of building Christians into mature ministers of the gospel, you have to give them every opportunity to learn and teach.

    Jim Pembertons last blog post..Law and Grace in the Christian Life

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