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Four Problems with Passionate Preaching

Preaching with a contagious passion for God, His Word, the gospel, and the people is a good thing. But we always need to be careful not to let our passion slip into offensive or off-putting communication styles.

Passion that becomes aggressive can offend. We must always be aware of how we are coming across when we preach. What might feel like a passion for the truth on our part can easily become unnecessarily offensive to the listeners. Every word and sentence counts, so be careful not to make a carefree assertion that might unnecessarily offend sensitive listeners. Listeners are not always the best at hearing statements in context. Hearers of “quotes” from Sunday’s sermon never really hear those quotes in context.

Passion that becomes “shouty” can be bothersome. So tempting for some personalities to convey their enthusiasm by shouting. It feels powerful and full of conviction at the time, and you can almost guarantee some misleading and positive feedback from some insecure folks who feel they need to say something nice to you afterwards. Being known as a shouting preacher won’t help you on several levels.

Passion that becomes distracted can be hard to follow. Sometimes, our passion for something leads us off on a wild goose chase of anecdotes and illustrations or a wild safari ride through the canon of Scripture. Let your passion drive your main idea home, not drive your listeners to distraction because they can’t follow you in your distraction.

Passion that becomes too intense can drain. Even if we don’t shout, a certain level of intensity, if maintained consistently, will drain an audience of energy and focus. Give them a break, a chance to breathe, a chance to recalibrate. Intensity turned up a notch or two and left there can become simply too much to take. Not worth it, better that they hear what you’re saying.

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Peter Mead is involved in the leadership team of a church plant in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at BiblicalPreaching.net and recently authored Pleased to Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation (Christian Focus, 2014).