The Particularity of Preaching
Simply defined, preaching is the intentional proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.
As proclamation, preaching occurs at a particular time, in a particular place, to a particular audience. Preaching requires that someone is listening, and it requires presence and immediacy that is unique compared to other forms of communication, such as a printed book or a video recording. Put another way, preaching requires particularity.
General or archived sermons (such as those used by satellite churches) serve a purpose, but do not qualify as preaching in the holistic sense. Such sermons do not address the particular needs of a particular congregation, which is composed of particular individuals at a particular time. As such, these sermons address general needs, but never address the particular needs of a particular people.
As Haddon Robinson once wrote, “In the Gospels we see that Christ never dealt with two people the same way… A sermon full of generalities hits no one in particular.” (The Art and Craft of Biblical Preaching, 117) In other words, Jesus recognized that preaching involves not only words, but the people being addressed. There is particularity when Jesus speaks, and preachers today should recognize how our Lord and Savior proclaimed the good news of His Kingdom.
Preaching is not a relic, nor an object for electronic archive, but an event that takes place in real-time and real space.