We believe that God’s living and active word should be the rule and authority over all we do as a church. Because it is God’s church, we see ourselves as being bound to worship God as he has instructed us in his word. This is what’s historically been known as the Regulative Principle of Worship. But we also believe that the Word of God is the life-producing power behind all we do. As God’s Spirit applies God’s Word to God’s people, we find ourselves changed and empowered to worship God rightly. Every aspect of our worship service is, hopefully, born out of the Scriptures and done in obedience to the Scriptures.
It is out of this that we see the Preaching of God’s word as not only essential to our worship but also as the central component of our worship. It is where we hear from God and it is the primary way by which we come to know and love God more and more. When preaching is done rightly the people of God are gathered, guided and governed by the Word of God.
At Greenbelt Baptist Church we are committed to what is known as Expository Preaching, a style of preaching which seeks to exposit, explain, and apply any given passage of Scripture as it was originally intended to be understood. Ideally this means working through a book of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Expository Preaching seeks to make the point and parameters of any given sermon match and flow out of the passage. In this way, the church is regularly hearing from God’s word in a way that honors the intended meaning of His word.
This also means that the church will grow in their understanding of how to read and interpret the Bible. It’s no compliment when a church member asks, “Wow, where did you get that?” Church members should be able to see the root of a preacher’s interpretation and application and how it’s derived from the preached text. Expositional preaching demystifies the preaching and sermon preparation and helps educate the whole church on how to study the Bible. More than just explaining the text, good preaching shows the congregation how to interpret and explain the text.
This also means that there’s an expectation for the congregation to be actively listening and thinking through what’s being taught. Listening to a sermon is by no means a passive activity. The listener is actively engaged with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength. We encourage church members to be reading and praying through the Scripture passage days before coming to church, in preparation for hearing the sermon well. And there is always a Sermon Discussion group which meets later in the week to reexamine and apply more deeply the sermon just preached. In this way we are seeking to get out of God’s Word all we can for life and godliness and the building up of the church.