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For other uses, see Preacher (disambiguation).
A Quaker preacher and her congregation.

A preacher is typically regarded as a person who delivers sermons about God or gives homilies on religious topics, although one can also preach components of any worldview or philosophy. Some see a preacher as distinct from a theologian by focusing on the communication rather than the development of doctrine. Others see preaching and theology as being intertwined. Others still define "preacher" as synonymous with "evangelist" (the more ancient definition, based on the Greek words underlying the English Bible). Preaching is not limited to religious views, but it extends to moral and social world-views as well.


Preachers are common throughout most cultures. They can take the form of a Christian minister on a Sunday morning, or an Islamic Imam. A Muslim preacher in general is referred to as a Da'ee, while those giving sermons on a Friday afternoon are described as a khatib. The word "preach" (from the Greek κηρύσσω, "to proclaim") in the Bible usually refers to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, i.e. evangelism—that said, since most modern Christians (especially Protestants) now define preaching as a monologue delivered by clergy to laity, the content of this kind of "preaching" typically goes beyond evangelism to other points of theology more relevant for someone who is already a Christian.

The preaching of sermons is prominent in Protestantism. Lay preachers often figure in these traditions of worship, for example the Methodist local preachers. Among Roman Catholics, the Dominican Order is officially known as the Order of Preachers (Ordo Praedicatorum in Latin); friars of this order were trained to publicly preach in vernacular languages, and the order was created by Saint Dominic to preach to the Cathars of southern France in the early thirteenth century.

In many churches in the United States, the title "Preacher" is synonymous with "Pastor" or "Minister", and the church's minister is often referred to simply as "our/the preacher" or by name such as "Preacher Smith". Sometimes the minister may even be addressed by using the word, such as "Good morning, Preacher".

However, among some Chinese churches, preacher (Chinese:傳道) is different from pastor (Chinese:牧師). A preacher refers to the younger clergy in the Protestant church who are not officially recognised as a pastor until they can prove their capability of leading the church. A preacher cannot administer sacrament,[citation needed] for example the holy communion and the baptism.

Other uses[edit]

  • Preacher is also the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes according to the King James Version. Preacher is one translation of the Hebrew word קהלת (Qoheleth). There is much debate about the identity of this Preacher; many believe it is Solomon.

See also[edit]

Media related to Preachers at Wikimedia Commons