Purposeful Preaching

I stumbled across a really helpful article that outlines four principles for effective preaching:

  • Purposeful
  • Practical
  • Personal
  • Powerful

Over the coming posts I plan to build and expand a bit on these, adding my own thoughts that reflect how I would like to grow and develop in my gifting.


Preaching should always be purposeful. Its purpose should always be to so present Jesus Christ that people will come to know him, love him, serve him, and yield their lives to him completely.

This doesn’t mean that the preacher should go on a scavenger hunt to “find Christ” in every verse or passage as much as having a grasp of the gospel such that it forms “the grid for our understanding”, and attitude towards our reading of, the Bible. Jesus and his gospel are to be our guiding “hermeneutical posture.”

God’s purpose for each one of us is to be like Jesus – in the way we think, in what we say, and in how we live. The written Word leads us to Christ the living Word. Preaching should help you to encounter Jesus, and to empower you to live your life for him by the power of God’s Spirit.

Because of this preaching should demand a response.

I want my preaching to help people to move beyond being informed to being transformed by not only closely considering God’s Word, but actually remembering it and putting it into practice (James 1:23-25). Rick Warren, reflecting on 2 Timothy 3:16, says that

“The purpose of Scripture is to change our character (“be complete”) and our conduct (“thoroughly equipped for every good work”). Since that’s the purpose of God’s Word, that’s what our goal should be when we preach the Word as well.”

We need to be equipped as preachers – and take seriously – our role in interpreting scripture faithfully and in ably communicating its truth. But unless we help people to apply it to their (and our own) lives then we are falling short of the purpose of the Word to transform us to be more like Jesus.

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