Will Willimon makes big statements, and has the capacity with words to back those statements up.
Introducing his book Leading With The Sermon, Willimon expands on his provocative opening statement.
Preaching is the most important task of an ordained leader.
Preaching is at the centre of pastoral work not only because in preaching a pastor is with more members of the congregation, in a more intentional and focused way, than in any other pastoral activity, making the pastor’s unique role visibly, definitively evident. Proclamation is at the centre because of who God is and what God is up to. We know the truth about God only because of the proclamation of the one true preacher, Jesus.
The pastor who pleads, “Though I’m not much of a preacher, I am a loving, caring pastor,” is lying. There’s no way to care for God’s people as pastor without loving them enough to tell them the truth about God, what God is up to in the world, and how they can hitch on.
Christianity is a “revealed religion”; it happens when humanity is confronted by a loquacious God. We are unable to think about a Trinitarian God on our own. The truth about God must be revealed, spoken to us as the gift of a God who refuses to be vague or coy. It is of the nature of the Trinity to be communicative, revelatory – the Father speaking to the Son, the Son mutually interacting with the Father, all in the power of the Holy Spirit, God speaking to God’s world.
A primary means of God’s revelation is preaching.
William H Willimon, Leading With The Sermon, Fortress Press, 2020, pg 2.