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 )
You feel God's call on your life to preach
You have seen the truth and long to see it impact others
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?
“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!
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!
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
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.