Sunday, June 26, 2011

How to preach to the masses?

     I have been thinking a lot lately about how one can most effectively preach in a typical church setting. How does a pastor convey the truth of scriptures in such a way that the congregation is not only captivated, but moved to action. For many years I have sensed that  whatever pastoral role God is leading me towards will involve preaching. I have a deep passion for preaching and believe that it is an important and useful aspect of our church worship services. Despite my belief that it is still crucial to our growth as Christians, I also believe that there are many preachers who lack inspiration and passion. The question for me is how do preachers allow their sermons to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, passionate, Bible based and meaningful to the point that listeners are moved to live more authentic and Christ based lives? Is this even possible or are my expectations too high?  
     This week I am back in Seattle visiting family and friends, which also means figuring out where Amy and I want to worship on Sundays. Last Sunday we visited my good friend Mark's church and really enjoyed their small, intimate service. This morning we decided to worship at the church I grew up in (which is always a mix of emotions for me) and worshipped with Amy's parents. The pastor who preached was a woman, in here late 30's, who at times sounded more like a stand up comedian than a pastor. I know that it is difficult to preach, especially in front of hundreds of people, but I find as I study the art of preaching it becomes more difficult not to critique the sermons I hear. All in all this women preached a good sermon and I listened attentively to the entire sermon, however, 8 hours later I can barely remember anything she said. Why is it that we can spend hours of our weeks preparing sermons, stressing out over if our illustrations will be effective and preach our hearts out only to have the congregation leave unchanged.
     I have within me a burning passion to be more effective as a preacher. I don't know what this will look like or how I will achieve this, but I am determined to someday, by the grace of God, inspire people through my preaching. I hope and pray that God will use my words to pull people closer to Him. If we, as the Church, are to bring people to Christ and help others understanding the living hope we have in Christ, we must tirelessly search for the most effective ways to reach people, including how we preach the word of God, which must be the foundation for all else. I am excited to use some of my free time to study the art of preaching. I plan to read a couple books about this topic, listen to some amazing preachers and look at the style and techniques of their sermons and watch some videos from a conference on preaching. Hopefully I will find the time to continue writing out some of my thoughts about this topic here on my blog as I continue to work towards one day becoming an effective preacher.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

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