Preach the Word (PTW), a program of the LCMS Office of Pastoral Education that was launched in 2016 to foster excellence in preaching, has released its 10th module: “Catechetical Preaching.”
The module is taught by the Rev. Peter Bender, senior pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Sussex, Wis. Bender is also the director of the Concordia Catechetical Academy, an auxiliary of Peace dedicated to the promotion of faithful Lutheran catechesis, and he serves on the LCMS Board for National Mission.
In the module’s introductory video, Bender says that there is no such thing as a sermon that is not catechetical because “all preaching — even the boring sermon or the doctrinally shallow sermon or the frivolous and trite sermon — will teach something. As Lutheran pastors, we want our preaching to be faithful to the Scriptures and to the language and methodology that our Lord Himself gives us. Catechesis is God’s way of teaching to convert the heart to faith in Christ and to hand over to the baptized what it means to be a Christian and how we are called to live as His disciples.”
Each module of PTW includes video segments, an activity guide and a leader’s guide. Pastors typically work together in small groups to view and discuss the video segments. They then individually apply what they have learned to their own preaching by recording themselves as they deliver sermons to their own congregations. Finally, they share the videos with one another for analysis and feedback.
Bender emphasizes, in Module 10, the importance of memorizing not only Scripture but the Small Catechism, which is the proper “lens” by which Scripture is interpreted.
“When Luther excoriates those pastors, who after one reading of the catechism quickly set it aside as if they know everything it teaches, he is warning us not to take for granted the catechism,” Bender says. He adds that pastors should allow the catechism “to shape the understanding of our mind, the faith of our hearts, the conduct of our lives and the task of preaching over the course of our entire ministry.”
After the completion of each PTW module, participants receive three CEUs (continuing education credits) in the form of a certificate issued by Pastoral Education. The participant’s district office also receives a copy of this certificate. Pastors are encouraged to enter these CEUs on their SET form as a record of their continuing education.
Posted Jan. 31, 2022