When I was in my twenties and was attempting to learn to play Jazz, one writer said, “all the answers are in the music.” What the author was saying is that we often ask many questions that can only be found by listening to great musicians “play” the answer. One jazz teaching instructor said that he had a student who was having a hard time playing jazz. The instructor asked the student, “How much Jazz did you listen to last week?” The student said that he hadn’t listened to any the past week. Then the instructor told the student, you will never be a competent performer if you don’t listen to others perform.
Great preaching, I believe, is just like that. You can learn the fundamentals through books, courses, and websites. You can find different things to look for from mentors. SoulPreaching.Com can help you, but if you are not listening to preached sermons of pastors and preachers then you will not grow as a preacher the way you wish to grow.
How do you end in a celebrative challenge? I can point you to CL Franklin, but he is gonna show you what I am trying to say. How do you preach a three points and a poem sermon? I can delineate the sections of a 3 points sermon, but when you listen to Frederick D. Haynes III you see exactly what I am talking about. On this site, I can tell you about embedding points in your sermon as you preach, but Jerry D. Black illustrates exactly what I am attempting to teach. In short, great preaching is both taught by homiletics instructors and caught from listening to preachers.
One must have a solid grasp of the text. One must engage the text and apply it to the context of the listeners. And one must have a solid connection to the Spirit if one is to be a solid preacher, but I would also argue that if you will get better you will listen to and learn from others.
7 thoughts on “Great Preaching Caught or Taught?”
You are on the case. Reading about preaching has its place; however, there is a great need to see and hear for yourself. Thanks for the post.
I can’t help but agree with you, the late Dr. C. A. W. Clark used to say that, “…there is a we-ness in all of us” in other words when what Dr. Clark said is applied to preaching it means, you have a little bit of your childhood pastor, a little bit of your seminary instructor, your current pastor, your favorite preacher, etc. all wrapped up in one that is instilled in you. I find myself preaching a little like my childhood pastor, the late Rev. John J. Rector, Sr, and a little like my father in the ministry [who happens to be my uncle], the late Rev. Robert Miller, Jr and I don’t try to deliberately mimic them but after witnessing so many sermons preached by them it seemed to just rub off on me. My current pastor, Rev. Dennis Carl Jones is a great influence as well, just like the old folks used to say, “He can preach the horns off a billy goat” and every time he preaches I am in a learning mode.
I like that “we-ness” idea. We certainly are influenced by many we have been in contact with. It is the unique mixture of all these voices that give us our voice…
I agree great preaching is both taught by good homiletics instructors and caught from listening to good preachers, who know how to walk through the text.
I believe that being a great preacher takes a lot of both situations. I enjoy listening to the spoken word especially some of the great pioneers. Some of those that come to mind are Rev. E.V. Hill, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr; Bishop G.E. Patterson. To me I just believe that these great giants were born with the gift of preaching.
My only concern is whether habits picked up by mentors can be corrected by listening to dynamic preachers.
In as far as I am concerned, preaching is the inborn trait that needs to be stired up by asking the Holy Spirit to inspire you or by listening to other preachers