The Preacher’s Responsibility

The Preacher’s Responsibility
April 28, 2015 Dan Wunderlich

“In some ways, I really don’t feel responsible for what the people of my church believe, but I feel very responsible for what they hear.” – Nadia Bolz-Weber

Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber is an ordained Lutheran pastor and founder of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. The quote above is a common theme that she has shared across many interviews (this particular formulation comes from a Patheos interview with Brian McLaren). It is a simple yet powerful reminder of the role and responsibility of the preacher, teacher, worship planner, small group leader, and really anyone who seeks to share their faith.

It simultaneously raises and lowers the bar. More accurately, it reminds us that there are two different bars, and we are often measuring ourselves by the wrong one. Just as in evangelism we do not convert people but rather lead them to Christ and trust God to do the heavy lifting, we do not change people’s minds. However, we are called to be instruments of the Word of God and channels through which people encounter not simply our own understanding of the Scriptures but also the church’s rich history, tradition, and theology.

So, perhaps, this perspective can take some of the pressure off of those of us who struggle when our people don’t seem to be “getting it.” However, it should remind us of the importance of our task. When we don’t take sermon or lesson preparation seriously, or when we throw away moments in a service or event, we are responsible for what they don’t hear. So, let’s all commit to refocusing on the right bar–what our people hear–and trust God to take care of the rest.

Sign up to receive resources and updates from Defining Grace in your inbox.

Including a FREE PDF with 10 Action Steps for Better Church Announcements!


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this site–potentially in the post above–are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Defining Grace is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *