This past August, I became the director of Southeastern Seminary’s Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership. As a result, I’ve spent some time reviewing books about preaching and renewing my fervor for the task. Below are some quotes that have challenged me (including bold highlighting showing what most caught my attention):
- “The preacher must never confront his people with Bible truths that he himself has refused to face in his own life. The Bible admonishes, ‘Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves’ (James 1:22). Studying the Word of God in order to preach it to others is a deeply searching matter. The pastor’s own life will be rebuked, challenged, and expanded weekly. Be willing to allow your soul to be exposed to the teachings of the Word of God.”
- “It is said that imitation is the best form of compliment. But this is not true in the pulpit. If preaching is truth through personality, to proclaim the truth dressed up as some other personality is not to preach. It is pulpit identity theft. No preacher is completely original. We are all influenced by other preachers. We are shaped by our teachers. We are reflections of our pulpit heroes. It’s inevitable. But it should not be intentional. God has called you. God has gifted you. God has prepared you. God has given you an assignment. God has given you a message to proclaim. The Lord made you an original. Don’t settle for being a cheap copy of someone else. No one can beat you being you.”
- “In some ways there is a tension between our dependence on the inherent power of the Word and our need to communicate well. We dare not think that our skill and ability can save anyone or make him or her grow in grace. We must constantly check ourselves lest we lapse from a commitment to excellence into claiming a share of God’s glory. But by the same token, if we excuse our own laziness and do not use every tool at our disposal, we presume on God. We might as well not study, improve our education, learn vocabulary, or concern ourselves with our appearance. Remember: the better we are at communicating, the less people notice us and the more they see God.”
- “The first exposition of a text is the reading of Scripture. The way a preacher emphasizes words, characterizes dialogue, and even holds the Bible communicates meaning. One preacher’s inflection can extol a biblical character’s actions, while another preacher’s tone when reading the same words can mock those actions. Oral reading requires and expresses interpretation. Thus, the expositor who sets a text before a congregation needs to prepare and present the Scripture reading as responsibly as any other portion of a sermon.”
What are your thoughts about these statements? Which one most grabs your attention?
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.