In many churches this post would be considered irrelevant or even bizarre. In others to suggest otherwise might raise an eyebrow or two. But in some, the choice can go either way. Should the preacher lead the whole service?
I’ve known a few people who insist that as the preacher they want to lead the whole service. It allows them to craft a whole package that fits together. It allows them expand the impact of their message beyond the official sermon time. And, I’d agree with this, it allows them to control how long they have to preach. But there are some reasons to just preach, if another service leader is available.
1. Increased focus in the preacher on the sermon. Instead of losing energy on earlier elements of the service, the preacher can prayerfully compose themselves so they are 100% focused on the sermon. No need to worry about introducing hymns, remembering the right people to mention in the prayers, covering the announcements adequately, and in many UK churches, no need to have a mini-sermon that is hyper-engaging for the children.
2. Increased focus on the preacher in the sermon. From the listeners’ perspective, when the preacher stands to preach, they haven’t already heard multiple snippets of the same voice. In some cases a preacher may undermine their impact by overdoing their involvement before the sermon. This is especially true if the preacher is not appropriately gifted or able as a service leader.
3. Opportunity for other gifts to develop and be used. Some people are exceedingly capable when it comes to public reading of Scripture, or addressing children, or leading singing, or praying publically, etc. Why do some assume that the whole package of diverse gifting and ability will reside in one person? The Bible does not teach the exclusive gifting of a clerical class, but the gifting of all for the good of all. Why not unleash folks in their area for the good of the church?
From my perspective, as a preacher, I would much rather not lead the entire service when I am preaching. If it is requested or preferred, then I can do so (and I console myself with controlling the time allowed for the sermon). But give me the option of just preaching, following capable and trustworthy people, and I would bite your hand off for that option. What do you think?