Preaching is a cumulative effort. Like brick-laying, each week we add something to the structure. It doesn’t always feel like what we have added in any given week is all that substantial, but when you step back and look at the big picture it can be quite surprising.
I sometimes get frustrated that preaching doesn’t seem consequential enough – that I am not making a large enough impact on any given Sunday, but that kind of thinking misses the real impact that our preaching has. Preaching builds up over time. It’s impact, not always perceptible, deepens over time as the concepts, stories, and impressions build upon themselves over time.
If you don’t believe me, think about all of the faith commitments that you hold. Examine them one at a time. Ask yourself, “how did I come to believe this?” It might be true that you read about it, or that you took a class somewhere along the line, or that you pondered it within the privacy of your devotional reading of Scripture. These are all good things. But I would suggest that it is very likely that much of what you have come to believe has come to you through your listening to (or perhaps preaching of) sermons.
Good preaching – and somethings even average preaching – has its effect on us. We need to hear more of it.