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3 Takeaways for Preaching in a Celebrity Preacher Culture

I was a new youth pastor and had just preached my guts out at our Friday night service. I thought I’d done a good job.

My wife was not impressed.


“You just preached that sermon like ___________________ (a popular prof at the Bible college I’d just graduated from). You even sounded like him and paused like he does. Don’t ever do that again. Be yourself.

The rebuke stung, but instantly I knew that she was right. Thankfully she had the guts to call me out on it.

Several months before I heard this same professor preach about Peter stepping out of the boat (Matthew 14:22-33). He opened my eyes to the fact that Peter actually got out of the boat while the other disciples stayed in their own comfort zone. It was a revelation for me and I couldn’t wait to share this message with others.

But when I finally preached that text I neglected to make it my own. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then I was tripping all over my prof.

Measuring Up

Unfortunately, I see this far too often now. Unlike when I was new to preaching, today rookie preachers have access at their fingertips to sermons from celebrity preachers from all over the world. Many up and coming preachers have heard literally hundreds of sermons from the likes of Judah Smith, Carl LentzSteven Furtick or Levi Lusko. And it shows.

But not in a good way.

Now I see more imitation, and I see more fear. Many rookie preachers wonder if they can measure up to their YouTube mentors rather than wondering if their message and delivery glorify God.

What gives these ‘celebrity preachers’ a platform is the power of the Holy Spirit coupled with their unique personality.

A Better Way—Three Takeaways for Preaching in a Celebrity Preacher Culture

If you want to be the best preacher you can be (by God’s grace) PLEASE…

Be You

Your stories are powerful and your background is unique. Your strengths, experiences, abilities, spiritual gifts and your weaknesses give you something worth sharing. No matter where you come from Christ’s divine power has given you everything you need for life, godliness…and dare I say preaching? (2 Peter 1:3)

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Michael Voll is the author of Sideswiped: Three Keys to a Fresh Start After Suffering a Broken Heart. He serves as the Associate Pastor at North Pointe Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is on the regular preaching schedule at NP and is an adjunct faculty member at Vanguard Collegein the School of Pastoral Leadership. He writes at michaelvoll.com. You can follow him on Twitter @michaelvoll.