What is the nature and central place of preaching?

The pulpit is located in the center of the sanctuary of Bellevue Baptist Church because both the church and I [Adrian Rogers] deem the preaching of the Word of God to be the most important function of the church. Preaching the truth of the Word of God is imperative in building a church and a congregation. That does not mean that you can build a church with preaching alone. There are other dynamics. But you cannot build a great church without preaching. 

I often have wondered, What is the necessity of preaching? Why not give out leaflets with Scripture truths printed on them, or just mail books to people? 

Well, the nature of preaching involves a man delivering a message. I would define biblical preaching as applying the truth of the Bible to the human situation and calling for action. One cannot disassociate the message from the man who is preaching. Truth on paper is not the same as truth in human flesh. 

The Gospel message cannot be separated from the God-called messenger. A preacher once told his congregation: "I wish you did not even have to see me. The message is important; I am not important. I wish somehow there could be a curtain up here; I could stand behind the curtain, and you could just hear the message."

That man did not understand God's design for preaching. He was a hypocrite because it would have been possible for him to preach behind 186curtain if that is what he truly desired. But even if he would have constructed the curtain, that would have been contrary to God's plan. God gave him his voice; God gave him his eyes; God gave him his hands; God gave him his smile. The truth of Scripture is that God wants him out there as a chosen vessel to preach the Word of God. 

Likewise, the act of hearing God's Word preached in a group setting is also crucial to the experience. Listening to a sermon alone as an individual is not nearly as powerful as listening to a sermon in a group. If you take a taped sermon and listen to that sermon while traveling in your automobile, there will be a certain chemistry that will be engendered by your listening to that tape, and you may be blessed. If something dramatic was preached, you would be moved, but only so far. However, if you were to get a group of ten people and listen to that tape, the dynamics in that room would be different. What you would hear and experience together will have greater significance than what any of you would have experienced separately. 

I am not sure I understand all the psychology of that, but there is something about listening to others that builds.

Preaching is the key factor that unifies people into a congregation. If you distributed leaflets for people to read, you would just have a crowd. 

However, when you combine the dynamic of the crowd hearing a message at the same time and the dynamic of truth embodied in human personality, you have created something that you get through no other form of communication. 

People do not only respond to the preacher, but they respond collectively one to another as they hear the message preached.

*This question and answer were extracted from "Love Worth Finding: The Life of Adrian Rogers and His Philosophy of Preaching.”