Thursday, July 23, 2009

Advice on Preaching

Who am I to give advice? Nobody really, but I am a good listener and a keen observer. In that light I have made it my constant aim to gather as much truth from as many men as possible.

With that said preaching is certainly a high and fearful calling, it is one which must be taken with great seriousness and care. Preaching must be regulated by the word of God and it's power must be sought in the ability of God the Holy Spirit.

The first obvious rule of preaching MUST be: to preach for GOD's Glory
Such a statement means a lot of things to a lot of people, I would suggest that it means we honor the holiness and truth of God. That we preach first to please Him and to reveal Him.

The second obvious rule of preaching MUST be: that preaching must rely on God's power
This means MORE time is spent on praying and meditation then on technical accuracy, a sermon must not be approached as a university term paper. As one preacher said preaching without the power of the spirit is like preaching with a broken microphone.

The third obvious rule of preaching MUST be: to preach to REACH! Communication is vital, you must seek to be as PLAIN as possible, you must seek to APPLY God's truth to your listeners. Speak TO them not AT them. Engage them with the word, for if you really believe that what really holds the attention of your listeners is some quaint story or current event then that's where you've placed your faith.

There are probably a list of rules in preaching that NEED to be broken at various times. As Bro Washer would say that the last thing you want to be as a preacher is DIGNIFIED, you know predictably sour and so reserved that NOBODY believes YOU believe what you are preaching. Bro Paul is a great example of someone who's last objective is to be a slave to format or to impress his hearers with his vast knowledge, rather he preaches very directly and very plainly.

Do you wish to be a better preacher? Then the advice that I have heard time and time again is to listen and read good preachers. Do you agree? Then why don't you listen to many preachers? I met one preacher when visiting his church as a possible home that told me he didn't listen to other preachers because it made him feel not good enough. How incredibly ridiculous to ignore good examples and not seek to learn from them. It's like the seminary grad who thinks they've arrived and truly believe that their 'learning stage' has been completed. Even amongst the most diverse of good preachers you can still find similarity, and that similarity is what you should pay the closest attention to.

DESIRE CRITICISM!!! In listening to interviews or during the sermon, I have heard many preachers tell of some crisis point in their preaching where a brother in the Lord criticised their preaching and it left a good lasting effect. I met one brother at the True Church Conf who told me what his pastor did when he had his first opportunity to preach. The pastor told this young zealous man that he first had to preach it to him in private and that he would severely correct him in every place he could. The pastor told him "I'm going to critique your sermon the way I wish someone would have mine when I was young" well the young man after the sting was grateful for this pastoral love. Such an account is quite rare, and though many men talk of be open to rebuke, they don't really welcome it. It takes great humility to take criticism and even more to admit to it and adjust accordingly-- I thank God for the pastors I have heard of that actually apologized to the congregation for the mistakes they made the previous week.

NEVER preach for the praise of the people, don't add anything to the sermon just 'for kicks'
NEVER preach to show off your intelligence
NEVER preach to win the favor of the leadership
NEVER preach what hasn't gripped your own heart
NEVER preach if you expect nothing to happen

2 comments:

Armen

All I can say as a young preacher is, thank you for these reminders before I get behind a pulpit in a few hours.

Would to God I and every preacher, would know the intense fire of God the Spirit, and such an immense burden that we may preach as if our lives depended on if. For indeed, the eternal lives of others do depend upon it!

Julius Mickel

Amen to that brother,
Oh how we need preachers and how we need to constantly fan the flame!

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