I love preaching.
Until I hate it.
Is that you? You have this unspeakable joy of bringing the Word of God week after week, and that joy brings energy and passion.
At least, until it brings despair and isolation.
And that second state leads to a host of clergy health challenges, including depression, anxiety, ulcers, and the bubonic plague. Well, I might have exaggerated that last one.
But what if I were to tell you that some tweaks in your message prep and delivery would not only up your preaching game but improve your physical and emotional health as well? Too good to be true? Not at all.
With all that in mind, here are some sermon tips that might just improve your overall wellbeing in the process.
The Joy of Discovery
The most rewarding thing about preaching is what I call the “joy of discovery”—the time spent in study when through scribbling and researching, the Scripture’s truth leaps out of antiquity and off the page and into the preacher’s lap. I love sharing that “a-ha!” moment with the congregation while preaching. If they can’t tell that you have been fascinated by the Scripture, why should they be captivated by you? Barely a Sunday goes by at Good Shepherd church without a mention, for example, that “Mark is a genius and Jesus is glorious” or “Luke is brilliant and Jesus is beautiful” or even “this inspired and anonymous author of I Samuel weaves his tale with such impeccable skill that I can’t help but shake my head in wonder and say, ‘Praise God.’”
Be interestED in Scripture so you can be interestING when you talk about it. I encourage colleagues to become captured by the Bible’s quirks, its art, its marvelously flawed heroes, and its raw power. When it captures you, you will be much more likely to capture your listeners’ ears and hearts.
Make Change Your Constant
I am grateful I am not the same preacher I was in 1990. I am also grateful the internet had not been invented back then so that there are no digital recordings of those early efforts.