Three P’s of Preaching from J.I. Packer


How do you define preaching? You could answer that question a dozen different ways.

In an essay titled, “The Preacher as Theologian,” Dr. J.I. Packer defines preaching from a biblical and theological approach. Here is his definition:

“Preaching is incarnational communication from God, prophetic, persuasive and powerful…”¹

The second half of his definition includes three “P’s” describing God’s divine purposes for preaching and how it is that God can speak through human preachers:²

1. Prophetic

The preacher’s role is like the Old Testament prophets in the sense that he is bringing God’s Word to bear on his congregation. The difference between Old Testament prophets and preachers today is that preachers today communicate God’s message from the Bible instead of from a variety of means including oracles, visions, or revelations. According to Packer, the text of the Bible is “God preaching to us.”

When a preacher faithfully communicates God’s message from the Word, preachers act like God’s mouthpiece–which is one reason why Packer includes “incarnational communication” in his definition of preaching.

2. Persuasive

Preaching is different than merely giving a lecture–preaching demands a response to the truth of Scripture. It is to persuade others to receive and obey the Word of God. The Apostle Paul agrees, “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others…” (2 Corinthians 5:11). Preaching should be targeted not only by knowing the main point of a passage, but also knowing the aim (or desired response) of the sermon. Knowing a desired aim will cause the preacher to focus on the persuasive element of the sermon.

3. Powerful

When the Word is preached, truth is communicated in a living and power-packed way. “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). As preachers faithfully proclaim the Word, the same God that brought creation into being is working in His power to sow the Word into the hearts of hearers by His Spirit.

Much more can be said about preaching, but I find Packer’s definition quite helpful due to its focus on the nature of the preacher in relation to God (prophetic), the goal of the message (to persuade), and the heart-piercing effects of God’s Word as carried by the Spirit (its power).

May all preachers of the Word prophetically persuade their hearers backed by God’s power!

Kevin Halloran is the Content Strategist at Leadership Resources and on the Latin America Training Team. Follow Kevin on Twitter.

Leadership Resources International trains pastors and church leaders in the US and worldwide to study the Word of God in depth using a variety of hermeneutical principles. Learn more about our training in the US and around the world or how you can help strengthen the global church with the Word of God!

¹From Packer’s essay, “The Pastor as Theologian” from When God’s Voice is Heard: Essays on Preaching Presented to Dick Lucas.
²The categories are Dr. Packer’s, the explanations are mine.

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4 Promises from Jesus for the Start of a Disciple-Making Ministry


This post is from Kevin Halloran, the Content Strategist at Leadership Resources, sharing about an experience he had while serving in his local church. Leadership Resources is committed to strengthening the global church by encouraging and equipping pastors to preach God’s Word with God’s heart.

I serve as a team on my church praying and planning for a new ministry to reach Spanish speakers in our area with the gospel. This is a new venture for us and functions a lot like a church plant within a church–which means we are thinking a lot about how both evangelism and discipleship will happen as we launch the ministry.

At the close of our last meeting, we asked for volunteers who would pitch in doing various things: teach the Scripture, make coffee, greet, get the word out, etc. People enthusiastically volunteered:

  • “I will set up the coffee station!”
  • “I’d love to prepare a Bible study for us!”
  • “I can be the guy to talk to the church office about an announcement.”
  • “I will contact such-and-such a person this week…”

As we discussed who would do what, my mind wandered to what Jesus would say if He sat around the table with us. That’s obviously a silly question–He has told us what He would commit to do in the work of evangelism, discipleship, and planting a church.

Below are a few of Christ’s promises that show a small glimpse into Christ’s work in the process of evangelizing, discipling, and growing a church.

4 Promises from Jesus for the Start of a Disciple-Making Ministry

I will build my church. (Matthew 16:18)

As we seek to fulfill our part of the Great Commission, we can be sure that Christ will work alongside us building His church. That takes pressure off of us because it by reminding us that Jesus Himself will work in and through us to accomplish this glorious purpose and that not even “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This promise has greatly encouraged our group as we think and pray about what this ministry will look like.

I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19)

Knowing the right evangelistic techniques alone doesn’t make a great evangelist. You need to enroll in Christ’s School of Discipleship yourself before inviting others to join you. Jesus first said, “Follow me”, with “I will make you fishers of men” a result of following Him. Christ will transform us into soul winners as we follow Him. Our new ministry team must keep our eyes on Christ, the ultimate evangelist and evangelism coach as we seek to reach Spanish speakers in our area with the gospel.

I will accomplish My purposes through My Word. (Isaiah 55:11-12)

Our proclamation of the Word will invite God to minister through us. Jesus promises to use His Word, and we just need to be faithful in communicating it. God’s Word is not only the best disciple maker, it also the best for training us for service (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Our ministry team can plan confidently knowing that God will use our efforts to sow His Word into the hearts and minds of those we minister to and that our labor will never be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

I will be with you always. (Matthew 28:20)

We are never alone even when ministry seems lonely. Christ promises His presence to be with us as we make, baptize, and teach disciples. Christ’s presence with us by the Spirit will empower effective evangelism (Acts 1:8), give us needed words (Luke 12:11-12), help us in our weakness (Romans 8:26), and aid us in preaching the gospel (1 Peter 1:12). Christ’s comforting presence by the Spirit will encourage us to press forward and do our part in fulfilling the Great Commission.

The truth is, I’m not sure what this new ministry will look like a month from now, a year from now, or ten years from now–and it doesn’t matter. It may even take a month or two for anyone to show up! We can confidently trust that Jesus will do His part of this ministry as we seek to make and multiply disciples of Christ.

Kevin Halloran is the Content Strategist at Leadership Resources and on the Latin America Training Team. Follow Kevin on Twitter.


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Learn Biblical Theology with D.A. Carson: Mp3 Audio and Video for The God Who Is There Series


We recently shared how The Gospel Coalition’s International Outreach arm supplied D.A. Carson’s teaching series The God Who is There to supplement the training of Ethiopian pastors in the Training National Trainers program.

Below we have shared the audio and video from the series designed to help you understand the big picture of the Bible. The series serves to give an introductory education in biblical theology.

Here is a brief description of The God Who Is There:

This series will serve the church well because it simultaneously evangelizes non-Christians and edifies Christians by explaining the Bible’s storyline in a non-reductionistic way. The series is geared toward “seekers” and articulates Christianity in a way that causes hearers either to reject or embrace the gospel. It’s one thing to know the Bible’s storyline, but it’s another to know one’s role in God’s ongoing story of redemption. “The God Who Is There” engages people at the worldview-level.

The Gospel Coalition has made full MP3s and videos available for Carson’s 14-part series.

To download the files below, right click on the title and then select “Save Link As…”.

  1. The God Who Made Everything 
  2. The God Who Does Not Wipe Out Rebels
  3. The God Who Writes His Own Agreements
  4. The God Who Legislates
  5. The God Who Reigns
  6. The God Who Is Unfathomably Wise
  7. The God Who Becomes a Human Being
  8. The God Who Grants New Birth
  9. The God Who Loves
  10. The God Who Dies—and Lives Again
  11. The God Who Declares the Guilty Just
  12. The God Who Gathers and Transforms His People
  13. The God Who Is Very Angry
  14. The God Who Triumphs 

Theological Resources from The Gospel Coalition for Pastors in Ethiopia and Honduras


Last month, Leadership Resources received several cases of theological resources from the International Outreach arm of The Gospel Coalition at the Desiring God conference in Minneapolis, MN. We will be sharing these resources with pastors we train throughout Africa and Latin America.

IMG_1024Specifically, we received:

  • Several boxes of ESV Global Study Bibles for pastors in Ethiopia
  • A case of DVDs for D.A. Carson’s The God Who Is There for pastors in Ethiopia
  • Copies of The Trellis and the Vine (Spanish Edition) for pastors in Honduras

These resources will supplement our training in the Training National Trainers program by providing theologically-sound resources for further study.

A special thanks to The Gospel Coalition’s International Outreach efforts!

Learn more about our work:

10 Encouraging Bible Verses for Those Discouraged in Ministry

One of the many commands given by the apostle Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy is to “endure suffering.”

Paul knew that ministry like Timothy’s had challenges and that he would face tough situations that may discourage him. Your call to ministry may be like Isaiah’s call to ministry–which was to minister to a people who would hear, but not understand; see, but not perceive.

Even though ministry can be challenging and lead to discouragement, God does not call any of us to an impossible task. He Himself is our sufficiency and makes us sufficient to be ministers of the new covenant. The ten encouraging Scriptures below will encourage the discouraged in ministry by reminding them of our great God who sustains those He calls.

10 Encouraging Bible Verses for Those Discouraged in Ministry

“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.”
Psalm 120:1

10-Encouraging-Bible-Verses-for-Those-Discouraged-in-Ministry-Scriptures“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.”
Psalm 121:1-3, 7-8

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.”
Psalm 34:4-5, 7

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need…For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do…so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Hebrews 4:16; 6:10, 12

“The Lord is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.”
Psalm 145:13

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:58

“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
1 Thessalonians 5:24

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21

“Summon your power, O God, the power, O God, by which you have worked for us.”
Psalm 68:28

“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent…”
1 Timothy 1:12-13a

Pastors, move from Isolation to Partnership in the Fellowship of the Word Program.

Book Recommendation: Finishing Well in Life and Ministry by Bill Mills/Craig Parro
Blog Post: Christian Ministry Burnout: Prevention, Signs, Statistics, and Recovery
Sign up for our Fuse Line eNewsletter for ministry news, resources, and encouragement.

*List originally shared in Friend Raising by Betty Barnett.

Author: Kevin Halloran.

Free eBook: “Keys to Effective Leadership: Developing Your Followership Skills” by Bill Mills


We now offer a free eBook of our Founder’s book Keys to Effective Leadership: Developing Your Followership Skills to everyone who subscribes to our blog. Our blog posts a few times a week sharing stories of God’s work in our pastoral training ministry, and insightful articles and resources on studying the Bible, discipleship, and preaching.

Here is a brief description of the book:

What would change if our primary identity were as a follower rather than as a leader? This was surely the identity for Jesus and for the Apostle Paul. Giving this booklet to every one of your board members and ministry leaders can transform their hearts and the ministries they share.

Bill Mills is the founder of Leadership Resources International, a global mission based in the Chicago, Illinois area. Bill’s career has been focused on encouraging churches and equipping pastoral leaders in the Fellowship of the Word and Training National Trainers programs.

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The Troubled Bible Translator

Dear Friends and Partners,

Thank God for Bible translation and for the many missionaries who have spent their lives putting God’s Word into peoples’ heart language. But, is it enough???

Phil is one of these heroes – a Wycliffe missionary who’s served in a large hostile nation for many, many years. He worked with a Mabi* team to translate Genesis and the New Testament so that the Mabi could for the first time ever have much of the Word of God in their own language. But, is that enough???

Phil recently wrote that after he completed the New Testament, “The church leaders asked if I could start preparing sermons for them.”

Phil was both troubled and confused. Troubled because, “I told them that what they needed was not just sermons prepared and handed to them, but instead they needed to learn how to study the Word.” Confused, because Phil didn’t know how to help them – he’s a translator, not a teacher of preachers.

Then, Phil heard about TNT (Training National Trainers). In God’s providence, we were about to launch a new TNT group in this same hostile country. Phil emailed me and pleaded for the chance to send two of his key church leaders (Peter & John*) to the training.

Well, several years later, Phil has seen TNT transformation first-hand. He told me, “The two men continue to pass on this training to others. Many people have commented on the improved quality of the preaching of many pastors and elders as a result of this training. Praise the Lord!”

Praise the Lord indeed, not only for the Word translated, but also for the Word faithfully preached in peoples’ heart language. We also thank God for your prayers and your great generosity in making all of this possible. Rejoice with us.

With much gratitude in Christ,


Craig Parro

President of Leadership Resources



PS: The news gets even better! The two Mabi men that we equipped are hoping to begin a new TNT training group with a nearby ethnic group, the Sammo*. You see, the Sammo have just gotten the Bible in their own language. The Mabi TNTers so treasure the TNT training that they feel compelled to pass on the training to the Sammo. Praise the Lord again! Wouldn’t you love to be a part of helping make that happen? Donate to Leadership Resources.

*Ethnic groups, language names, and personal names changed for security reasons.



    Launching Pastoral Training Movements Worldwide


    The mission of Leadership Resources is to launch pastoral training movements worldwide. This blog shares articles, resources, and updates from staff of God’s work around the world through our training. If you’re new to our blog, start here.


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