Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Effective Preaching

As a follow up to my criticism of one style of preaching, I thought I'd share with you this post by Brian Russell. He lists six principles for "preaching that connects":

  1. Prayer is essential.
  2. God is working in your life.
  3. Find Your Own Rhythm and Style
  4. Understand Your role as an Interpreter
  5. Share Yourself.
  6. Bring Passion to the Delivery

I agree with him on the importance of these things. They all (except number 4) depend upon what is happening in the life of the preacher.

Bishop William Alfred Quayle said:

Preaching is not the art of making a sermon and delivering it; it is rather the art of making a preacher and delivering that.

It is difficult to explain the proper role of prayer in the preparation of the sermon. It is more like a total dependence upon God that permeates every part of life and spills over into the preparation and delivery of the sermon.

It seems to me that there are three keys to effective preaching (in the order of importance):

  • Know God
  • Know yourself
  • Know your listeners

It is possible to read this list and understand "know" in a very shallow way. But there must be a depth to this knowledge. It is an awareness and familiarity that becomes stronger over time.

Knowing God means much more than having a solid theological foundation. It means having a "relationship" with him as one would with any other person. Unfortunately, this phrase has become a cliché and lost nearly all its meaning.

To know yourself requires more than taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or knowing whether you are an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner. It means knowing the temptations that you are most susceptible to. It means knowing your deepest desires, not just what you think you want. It means having an objective recognition of your strengths and weaknesses. It means being conscious of what you think and feel.

And knowing your listeners goes far beyond "knowing your audience." It means really knowing the individuals sitting there and what is happening in their lives

On the one hand, this is very difficult. But on the other hand, it is natural and "effortless." I used to stress over my sermon preparation. Because I wanted to "do my best." I now have a more focused, relaxed attitude. It is not my job to convince, convert or change my parishioners. It is my job to be in the process of becoming more like Jesus Christ and to share that journey with the people God has entrusted me with.

The real work of sermon preparation is not done sitting in front of my computer. It is done in my heart/soul/spirit as I cooperate with God's grace as he makes me into the person he created me to be.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"

1 comment:

ROD WILLETT said...

Doesn't the older generation call this "the annointing?" I like preaching that inspires and convicts. No wonder prayer is so important!