More than 1,500 pastors across the country and around the globe have pledged not to short circuit their sermons with someone else's.
In a new campaign aimed at putting the centrality of the Bible back into a preacher's message, "The Preacher's Pledge," introduced by SermonCentral.com, has been signed by pastors from over 50 nations so far.
"We introduced The Pledge because we think preachers must engage the Bible in their sermon preparation and not simply short circuit the process with someone else's study," says Ron Forseth, general editor for SermonCentral.com. "Our site is a valuable supplement but not the primary source for a sermon. God's Word is."
SermonCentral.com provides visitors access to over 120,000 sermons and illustrations and claims to be the most highly trafficked sermon website in the world.
At a time when more pastors are uploading sermons online as a free resource for both church leaders and lay people who missed a service or want to listen to it again, some are concerned that pastors are putting little study into their weekly messages or even plagiarizing others' work.
"We want to strengthen the quality of preaching in pulpits around the world," said Scott Evans, president of Outreach, Inc., which owns SermonCentral.com. "The Preacher's Pledge is helping do that. That's why, with every sermon on our site, we encourage pastors to affirm The Pledge."
Preachers who take the pledge make a commitment to the following:
• I will make the Bible my primary resource in sermon preparation and preaching.
• I may use other resources such as commentaries and web sites to enhance, not replace, my personal interaction with Scripture.
• As I study I will strive to accurately understand and honestly apply God's Word, allowing Him to uniquely proclaim His truth in a relevant way through me.
Individual names of those who have already pledged are listed on the website (www.sermoncentral.com/pledge) along with their organization and location. According to a statement, many names are added every day.
"This is what The Preacher's Pledge is about," reads the website. "It's a commitment you can make before God, yourself, and your congregation to keep the Word of God preeminent in your preaching."