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Title:  Looking at Preaching Afresh





Fresh Thoughts on Preaching: PART 1: Check Notes for Preachers

Abbreviated Notes for faster reading!



•  ‘Preaching' stirs and challenges the heart to make a decision to act for Christ in some way
•  ‘Teaching' stirs and challenges the mind to make a decision for Christ in some way.
•  ‘Preaching' comes with power to take God's word for the moment and apply it in such a way as to bring change of life,
•  ‘Teaching' comes imparting, knowledge, understanding and wisdom (i.e. information) to impact the intellect to bring change of attitude, understanding and then life.


Communicating God's word without expecting it to bring life change, sells it short! 


1. Why Preach


Why not preach : You want to impress people – You want to prove to yourself you can do it – You see it as the way to build the church – You want to be a public speaker – You want to have power over people – You are interested in theology – You'd like to help people ( see full notes for explanations )


Why Preach?

•  You feel God's call on your life to preach
•  You have seen the truth and long to see it impact others

•  If you don't understand the Gospel and if you haven't seen the power of God's word to bring the Gospel to bring salvation (Rom 1:16), don't preach.

•  That truth also needs to be seen as the power of God for ongoing salvation i.e. those things that are necessary to enable Christians to live out their lives.


2. God's Servant

•  “What does God want to achieve through me standing up and delivering His word?”
•  Beware Self-Aggrandisement - “What do you want to achieve by me delivering your word?” 
•  Servants understand that ability and anointing come from Him.

Two probable goals

1. To inform  the congregation of the content of Scripture and the meaning of Scripture.

2. Bring about a change of understanding and an act of will on behalf of the congregation.


Spirit Motivated, Energised and Empowered

•  This is all about faith, obedience and openness to God and, most especially, God awareness.
•  The whole area of listening to God, waiting on God and receiving from God.
•  Is my preaching a ‘God exercise' or simply another human endeavour?

Significance Awareness

•  “Am I aware of the wonder of God's word and of the potential of it to change people?”
•  If the Preacher fails to convey his own excitement at the wonder of what he is delivering then:
a) one wonders if the word has yet come as truth to him, and
b) his delivery risks appearing boring and
c) the congregation will not be stirred, moved and changed by it.

If you spend time in the word and meditate on it prayerfully, it WILL thrill you, always! It will!


Bible Based

•  The primary role of the preacher is to convey the will of God through the word of God.
•  He must present the people with the content of the Bible and explain it and apply it to everyday life.
•  Exposition is all about explaining what the original writers meant when they wrote - then showing its relevance to life today. 


3. Servant of the People



If the preacher is to be effective with people he must also be people-conscious.

This is simply a recognition of our humanity, and leads us into thinking about delivery and presentation,


Spiritual AND Human

•  Modern teaching theory talks about learners having different preferences – visual, auditory, kinaesthetic
•  Preaching is traditionally an auditory exercise - consider what can I do to make what I am doing as acceptable (from a delivery standpoint) as possible to the congregation
•  The use of PowerPoint presentations takes us into visual learning.
•  The kinaesthetic element comes by preaching and receiving being a Holy Spirit exercise

Biblical Content & Purpose

Beware the tendency to pack out a sermon with masses of verses

This approach has several distinct failures:


i) Use too many verses & people lose the sense of structure and get overwhelmed by words.

ii) A tidal wave of verses means you are not stopping to fully explain them and apply them.


WHY use this approach of piling up dozens of verses?

•  I conclude that it stems from  insecurity and  impatience!

•  We feel we have to justify all we say - we lack authority - insecurity

•  We must convey the whole counsel - fail to realise is that it takes a while to digest the word of God – hear it, understand it, and apply it – impatience!


•  The people must be able to hear the speaker.
•  Learn to throw your voice to the back row



•  Wise preachers are aware that people's attention spans are frighteningly short
•  Variety means we can work through one verse at a time, and then jump to the bigger picture;
•  It also means we can use personal or everyday illustrations to bring greater understanding to the text
•  It also means we may from time to time use humour.
•  Beware the danger that we over use illustrations, personal anecdotes and humour
•  They are merely tools to help perform the main job which is to expound the truth of God in Scripture revealing the will of God.


Length of Message

•  The wise preacher learns something about human capability as well as discernment of the Spirit.
•  John Stott: “It is an impossible question to answer because there are so many imponderables. It depends on the occasion and the topic, on the preacher's gift and the congregation's maturity.” I would also add, “and the level of the Spirit's anointing”.
•  John Stott concludes, “ten minutes are too short and forty minutes too long.” 
•  It is better to impact the people of God with a limited number of points and leave them wanting more, than to have them breathing a sigh of relief as we draw to a close.



•  Arthur Wallis advocated preparing the message with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.
•  Make it relevant to life.
•  The word of God is not for tickling our intellect but bringing change in us, to conform us to Jesus, and to God's will generally.
•  A wise preacher summarises the message at the end, bringing out particular points that have stood out that may be issues to be applied.



•  Give people opportunity to respond in some manner to what they have heard.
•  Making some form of response IS very helpful for the people of God.
•  The pastoral preacher will never push the people or force them into something they are not ready for

•  It is a response TO GOD and therefore it will involve prayer.



4. And so…


•  Preaching and teaching are spiritual exercises and we need to remember that some people in front of us may not be in a good place with God and they may not yet be in a place to receive, so if they reject your word and go away grumbling, take heart, their day will come. 
•  You just do the best you can with the Lord, to be right with Him, to prepare to the best of your ability and so on. Then rest in it.