No, this is not a post about the loss of our religious freedom—it’s a reflection on a quote I’ve looked at many times since I first wrote it down about nine years ago at a conference on preaching…
If you think the gathering of biblical facts and standing up with a Bible in your hand will automatically equip you to communicate well, you are desperately mistaken. It will not. You must work at being interesting. Boredom is a gross violation, being dull is a grave offense, and irrelevance is a disgrace to the gospel. Too often these three crimes go unpunished and we preachers are the criminals. ~ Charles Swindoll
In a previous pastorate, I began preaching through the entire Bible. I almost made it through 2 Samuel when we were called away to join the Saddleback Church staff, but we managed to grow both spiritually and numerically through those four years.
One of the biggest fears people had when we began that journey together was, “Aren’t some parts of the Bible boring?”
Yes and no.
Yes, parts of the Bible can be boring if we don’t read with discernment. But when we put ourselves in the shoes of people who lived during the times of which we’re reading about, then transport ourselves to our 2009 culture, God’s truth unveils itself in radically doable ways.
Still, Swindoll is right, we preachers must work at being interesting.
Here are some tips for doing just that…
Laugh a Little
One Pastor I know tells a joke every Sunday from the pulpit. I don’t recommend it for everybody, but there were two conditions present at his church when he arrived there: a prevailing spirit of negativity and discouragement, and his own comedic personality. For his congregation, laughter became therapeutic.
The joke-a-week may not always be the best approach, but do be willing to laugh, especially at yourself. It’s one of the most disarming things you can do. Your vulnerability and authenticity will definitely break down barriers between you and your listeners.
Don’t believe in the power of laughter? Listen to Charles Swindoll read this letter home from camp…
Make Eye Contact
Sounds basic, yet every week pastors stand before their congregations and read manuscripts or stare over the heads of the crowd. Make eye contact with as many individuals as possible all around the room. You’ll be amazed at the personal connection and unspoken response that takes place.