Show Notes – Toolbox

How Expository Preaching Shapes Pastoral Ministry 

 

How does expository preaching change the nature of pastoral ministry?

The beauty of what the word of God does in the hearts and lives of people and in your life when you line by line and verse by verse is completely transformational. You’re unleashing the power of the word of God, and it changes everything. 

1. Expository Preaching Shapes Our View of God.

Expository preaching is the way God taught/teaches His word. It was God’s method before it ever became our method. 

God’s people need His word line upon line, they need to know precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. They need to be cultivated with a steady diet, one line at a time, building on itself.

The nature of expository preaching (how it shapes your ministry) is it shapes your view of God—God is a shepherd and a teacher. God’s heart is to comfort and edify, give rest to the weary, and refresh His people.

When we have a skewed view of God, we will then be dismissive of the actual message of God. We’ll pick and choose verses we like, that we can choose to fit our narrative, and we’ll miss the real heart of God.

Expository preaching changes the nature of our view of God. It is how He taught His word, and it’s how I ought to teach His word, because that’s the method He used.

2. Expository Preaching Shapes Our View of God’s Story 

The Bible is most essentially a redemptive, historical narrative. In its entirety, before systematic theology, instruction, reproof, or laws, it is one story. God’s story of the ages!

Moses, the prophets, and Psalms—Jesus opened the Scriptures and taught all things about Himself. When Jesus taught the Scriptures, He showed how the Bible was all about Him. This is all pointing to Him, fulfilled in Him, symbolic of Him—all of the Old Testament leads to Jesus and the redemptive story of God.

The Bible is a narrative that unfolds in a storyline, and it all connects to every other part. When you connect it all, it becomes fuller, more beautiful, 3D, living color, transformational power. The narrative builds on itself—Ephesians 1-2-3-4-5-6, Acts builds into Ephesians, Gospels into Acts, Old Testament into the Gospels. The narrative unfolds. 

Do you have to preach the whole Bible every time? Not precisely, but almost. You want to give a 50,000 ft. view, then 20,000, then 5,000, then ground level view of why text matters to us today. 

3. Expository Preaching Shapes The Nature of Our Ministry Goals

Many of our goals are in terms of measurable success. How big is my church, how many prayed, what was the offering—visible metrics. You don’t see this in Scripture—the first goal and prayer of pastors, shepherds, Jesus, etc. was not performance (what I want you to do). The first goal was “here’s what I want you to know.”

“Doing” for God flows out of knowing Him and loving Him. But if I jump to Ephesians 6 and just start teaching obedience, I’m missing the love and instructions of 1, 2, and 3. It’s the exposition of the full letter that gives the whole sense that the performance/doing flows out of loving.

The goal of Paul was not only transformation, but to root and ground people in the knowledge of Christ. Paul’s goal was not that they would be impressed with him or his delivery, not that he could have measurable success, notoriety, prominence… His goal was their spiritual health.

4. Expository Preaching Shapes The Nature of Our Philosophy of Ministry

What are our priorities and goals? To entertain, be pithy, memorable, tell funny stories? When you commit yourself to expository preaching, you’re an Acts 6 model that gives yourself to the ministry of the word. It makes your philosophy of ministry built on the accurate representation of what God has to say, not simply pithy packaging, alliteration, rhyme.

Don’t try to be “tweet-able,” try to be biblical and flow with the text of what God said. 

5. Expository Preaching Shapes Your Relationship With Your Church Family

You’re truly letting God shape them, which means your ministry in their life is selfless. You’re simply the conduit of a message that’s flowing from the heart of God to them, and it’s transformational!

The irony is, you’re not trying to get them to love you, but they will love you because they love the word of God. “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel.” They will love the one that delivered them the word of God. If you try to get people to love you, they’re going to know you’re exploiting them. You’re using them to make you feel better. You’ll be going at ministry for an identity, and you’ll be using people to construct a self that feels validated and meaningful.

But if you go at ministry to give instead of receive—to pour into people—the byproduct of that is they’ll be strong and they will grow. In God’s grace they’ll be transformed.

6. Expository Preaching Shapes The Church Family’s Relationship To God

When you start reading the Bible for yourself and what it actually says in context, you’re going to be amazed how many times you were told the Bible says things that it does not say. Your church family will see the true heart of God instead of pinholes that create a perversion of God’s heart. That will give them a true, deep, rich love for God. Their relationship with Him will change, as will their service, stewardship, generosity, love for Him will drive everything else, and they won’t merely be following you, they’ll be following God because they’re actually hearing what God has to say.

Expository preaching shapes everything about pastoral ministry—you, your view of God’s story, the way you create a philosophy of ministry, the people you impact in that ministry, and it will shape their relationship with God.

Nothing trumps the power of expository preaching because it is how God teaches His own word.