“So in our church in San Clemente we believe that worship begins in the streets and ends in small groups. It begins (as we have said) in reaching out to others with the welcome of God who invites us to worshipful communion. It reaches a climax in the service of Word and sacrament. But it is completed in small groups that meet in homes on Sunday evening to eat a meal together, review the sermon, study a bit deeper, and support each other as we live out the call of God in the sermon. It is from start to finish a communal event that requires a personal response.” (pg. 100, It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian)

There has been concern among pastors today over the talk of preaching being an outdated form of worship, the concern is genuine and timely. Bolsinger far from believing that preaching has become outdated instead calls us to re-imagine in a fresh way how preaching and sacraments can be central in the worship of the church. The medium of preaching isn’t outdated according to Bolsinger, but saying that is not enough, we need to re-center or re-imagine the role of preaching in relation to the Word being present with us as we worship as a people and not just individuals. At the macro level of the Sunday service and the micro levels of small groups.

But Bolsinger does not lead us on to believe that preaching is where worship begins, and the doxology at the end of Sunday serivce is where it ends – No. For Bolsinger the sermon is the climax of our communal worship but as all good climaxes it informs much of what else we do throughout our day and week. Worship begins in the missional lives of individual Christians through their welcoming of others to worship, a welcome that requires a personal response, but doesn’t end in the individual nor does it climax in their experience. Worship ends in the homes of the saints where the church gathers over meal and discusses again the message of the sermon in small groups.

There is an element of truth to the arguement that preaching is an outdated medium if its the kind of preaching that begins and ends on Sunday morning by an charismatic individual to an passive audience, but if preaching is the climax of a call issued by God toward corporate worship and if its content carries on into the homes of smaller groups of christians well then preaching is indeed a participation of the community in worship by the oversight of the Spirit

What is preaching like in your church? Is it accompanied by the sacraments? Does it carry over into the life of your small groups or house churches? When someone visits your church do they leave with the impression that preaching ends at the doxology or do they get a sense of its climatic role in the churches ongoing worship?