y passion is preaching the Word of God. “Preaching is a discipline performed by general practitioners,” according to Craig A. Loscalzo; he adds: “Preachers must be students of the Bible, theology, church history, pastoral care, and counseling. They must also be students of human nature, sociology, political science, and cultural trends (just to name a few). The stage on which we preach is the world; for us to preach effectively, we must understand the present world and envision the future world into which we and our hearers are moving.”*
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” wrote the apostle Paul, before asking, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Rom. 10:13-15).
In light of this Scripture, I ask, What comes to mind when you hear the word “preaching”? Is it a worship service where you dread the moment the speaker enters the pulpit to drone on about a boring topic, or a tent where a pulpit-pounding evangelist serves up delightful doctrines hardly ever heard the same way again?
This is not a one-size-fits-all question, because when it comes to preaching in our church these days, not enough preachers are blazing a trail for Christ with the transformational proclamation of the Word of God. At the same time, many of our churches across the land, especially smaller congregations, are hungering for a powerful “word from the Lord.”
Because of the economic downturn, churches in North America where trained preachers are unavailable, or those where pastors who would otherwise be available have been sent to the seminary for three or more years, conferences and congregations have had to rely on local, untrained speakers. The result, in many cases includes a dwindling attendance, a diminishing of spirituality, and a loud cry for preaching that is interesting, vibrant, life-situational, and transformational. This is especially important in our Christ-driven Adventist mission to seek and save nonbelievers who are skeptical of organized religion or have been misinformed about the true character of our church.
The Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in its ongoing efforts to serve the worldwide needs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has a response to this need. As a professor of homiletics I am pleased to join my colleague Kenley Hall and a team composed of seminarians Joel Almeida, Andreas Beccai, and Miroslav Danihel, who have been given the privilege of spearheading this response.
This fall we are launching a new service—Word to the Worldwide Church. You can visit the Web site at sermon.net/sdatseminary. This will truly bring us back to the basics where, as Adventists, “preaching” is both our name and nature.
The vision of Word to the Worldwide Church is to connect the worldwide church to the Word through powerful preaching of pastors who are now studying at the seminary. On our site are numerous sermons from high-quality preachers that can be downloaded for use in church worship services. If a church requires a live-streaming sermon, preachers will be available in many languages. Word to the Worldwide Church essentially offers churches and conferences around the world the ability to connect to pastors currently studying at our seminary through live, streaming sermon events.
All this is offered to the worldwide church as a free service of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. In addition to its free services, for a small fee Word to the Worldwide Church offers the opportunity to customize sermons or lectures for local churches or conferences. You can select a professor at the seminary and a specific topic for a live-streaming presentation.
We hope this service will be a significant tool in our corporate mission of revival and reformation. Feel free to write, e-mail, or call me for more details.
* Craig A. Loscalzo, Evangelistic Preaching That Connects: Guidance in Shaping Fresh and Appealing Sermons (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1995), p. 18.
Hyveth Williams is a professor of homiletics at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. This article was published August 18, 2011.