Practical Preaching


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

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.


Practical

As Spurgeon once urged, Jesus said feed my sheep not feed my giraffes. I don’t think anyone who has engaged with Spurgeon’s preaching could claim he was anti-intellectual, but he was certainly focussed on ensuring that his listeners could engage with the Word of God and knew what it meant to go away and live differently in the light of what they had heard. Food should not be put so high that neither lambs nor sheep can reach it.

The desire to be ‘clever’ and ‘memorable’ in our preaching can distract from the task of helping people to grasp hold of what the Word of God says, and help them to know how God would have them put it into practice. Adrian Reynolds’ contention is that it doesn’t matter if people don’t remember your sermons:

We are tempted, I would suggest, to measure our ministry in terms of how much people can remember of it. And when people say to us “I remember your three points” we get a inward glow. But in fact, the measure of God’s word preached is whether people change and if spiritual habits that were unnatural become the norm, become instinctive. We need to pray that our preaching would be effective and not so much that it would be memorable.

Preaching a simple message is not the same as preaching a shallow message. “Have a nice day” is a shallow statement that you can do little with. “This is the day the Lord has made” is a simple statement that is packed with meaning. If we spent our whole lives trying to implement the bits of the Bible we did understand we would have more than enough to keep us busy. Thank the Lord it is not up to us and that we have God the Holy Spirit working within us!

I think it was Rick Warren who said that “you only believe the part of the Bible you do.”  That’s as true for the preacher as for the listener. You’ve got to practice what you preach. And when you preach, keep it practical.

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