We get emails and comments all the time from readers. I love to receive them and try to answer them if I can. Many are happy with the “down to earth” and “practical” insights that I attempt to present in simple language. I try to steer clear of canned and trite teaching that people think they are supposed to hear. I attempt to give you real tools to help you in a real ministry in the real world.
Some disagree with this approach. I think disagreements can be helpful. I have learned more from disagreements than from agreements, but some of these disagreements come from a piety that does not deal with the reality that preparation for the preaching moment requires that the preacher put in some real work. No the preacher does not receive a message from God without putting forth any work whatsoever.
For example, there are those who make an argument that sounds a lot like this one:
If you are called, then you don’t need a website like SoulPreaching.Com to teach you to preach!
We get this kind of statement from time to time either on YouTube or on SoulPreaching itself. The first thing that comes to mind when addressing such a statement is why did the commentor come to this website if he/she thinks that called people don’t need any training to help them in their call. But on a more serious note, this argument taken to its logical conclusion would mean that we should shut down all bible schools, seminaries, and universities. When God calls you, according to this understanding, you don’t need to do any more work.
But let’s be clear, becoming a better preacher requires work. I think formal training can be helpful, but even if you do not receive formal training from an educatioinal instution, you need to avail yourself of books, websites, practice, and even peer review. All of these things, in addition to prayer, Bible study, and your call, will help you to become a better preacher. Simply leaning on the idea that you have been called without doing any more work will stifle your improvement.
Another belief that hinders our improvement as preachers is an argument that goes like this:
The sermon is solely a product of God who gives it to us, we just deliver what God has given to us!
This is related to the first argument. But while the first one attacks the idea that we should have any formal or informal training in preaching, this one attacks the very idea of sermon preparation itself. It assumes that the sermon is something that God gives to us irrespective of our effort or person.
This idea doesn’t take into account that God has called YOU to preach. God didn’t call a robot without any history or emotions. What that means is that there is something about our background, who we are, the questions we bring, the issues we have dealt with, that God will use in the construction of sermons.
Sermons are not soemthing that any of us could have delivered. Who we are affects how we construct and present sermons. This is one reason why stealing sermons is so detrimental. It teaches us to not use our background.
No, sermons are not delievered irrespective of the preacher…No they are something that are delivered THROUGH us. So when Joe just lost his mother and goes to the text, he sees something that is needed just now for himself and for someone else who is going through loss. I ain’t talking about reading into the text, I am talking about aspects of the text that you would not have seen were it not for the questions that you bring to the text.
It is sometimes said that preaching is “truth through personality.” God has called you and thus we labor. We labor to become more effective preachers of the truth. We labor to be faithful presenters of the gospel. We labor. and then when we fail, we hold on to that promise that God gave that the word itself when it goes forth will not come back void. Isaiah 55:11.
6 thoughts on “Improving Your Craft….How Pious Ideas Can Kill Preaching Improvement”
Man,we all can use more information on how to deliver our semons better.I find the information useful.thanks for your work!!!
Great article I love reading your information it is so helpful to me as a preacher and a new pastor! I totally agree with you as far as the work that has to be put in to be a good preacher! I have come to realize that there are some lazy preachers that think that when they get up there to proclaim the word of God that he will give you a supernatural message! Faith without works is dead! My philosophy to preaching is if I do my part God has to do his! Thanks so much for all the great information and please keep it coming!
Pastor Eric Jordan
New Season Ministries
I come down on both sides of this issue. I believe that your website is a great thing because it lets those of us who have a heart for God’s people experience the hearts and minds of other spiritual leaders. I also believe that above everything else your work has given you a unique ability to see the pros and cons of the religious world today. I would also point out that we are in warfare and the enemy is very real.Think of this if the work you are doing is effective, you will help us grow and ounce we have grown we must graduate. I believe that you have more spiritual potential than any man I am aware of simply because of the work you are doing. But you must stay the course, and above all you must seek the face of God because that is the only true calling. God calls us to seek His face that He may personally anoint us in our calling. Any other way is idolatrous. Let me show you something I recently came to understand; the meaning of Abba. It is said that Abba means father but if that was so the scripture would read Abba Abba. But the scripture reads Abba father (Mk. 14:36, Gal. 4:6). The truth is that no one can teach you what Abba means. Abba can only be understood by those who have seen the face of God.
I thank GOD for you and your article/input. Your points are not complicated and easy to understand. Pray you will continue this work.
SoulPreaching has made a difference for me. Thanks. Yes, I was called to preach, and no, I didn’t NEED the training, but it HAS helped. Keep up the good work!
I specifically agree on motion that we need to prepare before we deliver to the people.Jesus prepared his desciples.