It is often said that Luther restored congregational singing. This is true, but he did more than that: Luther restored preaching to the congregation—a most appropriate activity for lay priests. “If, now, the congregation is to proclaim the divine truth, it must have a sermon worth preaching. This is the reason for the substantial…doctrinal content in many of the Reformation hymns.”
—P. J. Janson, “The Reason We Sing, Reformation and Revival 4.4 (Fall 1995), 19
Soren Kierkegaard observes that the true test of a good sermon is not whether people heard it, enjoyed it, and discussed it over their Sunday meal. Rather, the philosopher points out, the real test may be whether people heard it and found themselves too inspired, too angered, too challenged, or too sick to eat a Sunday meal.
—cited in C. Welton Gaddy, The Gift of Worship, 78
Proclamation in public worship in New Testament times never consists of what we should call pure doctrine. It is always by the measure of the Apostles’ word none the less prophetic utterance, always a testimony in which the very person of the one who testifies is involved; it is utterance which thus attempts to interpret the present situation with the authority of the Spirit.
—Eduard Schweizer, “Worship in the NT,” Reformed and Presbyterian World 24:5 (March 1957): 202
The basic unit of meaning on Sunday morning is not the sermon but the service.
—Marva Dawn, Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, 215
POINTS OF ENGAGEMENT FOR THE PASTOR
- Be a private worshiper.
- Sing, pray and preach out of a walk of worship.
- Study worship.
- Preach on worship.
- Model worship publicly.
- Lead worship.
- Handle the text reverently and responsively in sermon preparation.
- Preach as an act of worship.
- Preach as an invitation to worship.
—Ron Man, “The Pastor and Worship,” Worship Notes 11.2 (February 2016)
Congregational leaders [pastors] should see that the planning and conduct of church services is ultimately their responsibility. It is a ministry that ideally will dovetail with preaching. Of course, the New Testament encourages the sharing of gifts and ministries by others. So pastors should teach about the nature and purpose of the gathering and should model how to make edifying contributions themselves. They should supervise the process of planning and conducting edifying gatherings, even if others are given substantial responsibility in this area.
—David G. Peterson, Encountering God Together, 77-78