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.
“First, open Scripture and experience God’s words for yourself. If it does not come alive to preachers’ heads and hearts, to their eyes, ears, and senses, it is unlikely to come alive to listeners. There are no quick fixes and no shortcuts…Spiritual authenticity occurs when a preacher’s personal walk with God enables public worship to flow from private worship…shallow spirituality leads to shallow preaching…Hearers recognize spiritual authenticity in a preacher.”
One thing that I am releasing more and more is the urgent need to get excited about the passage I am preaching on – this stems, of course, from a conviction about the centrality of the Word of God for today. John Piper speaks of when he became “passionately thrilled” by what he was seeing in the Bible as a young man and that this was the thing that led him into preaching ministry. I know that I am most effective when I have been captured by what I have read in the scriptures and am seeking to pass on to others what I have learned and applied to my own life.
John Stott talks of the main objective of preaching being to “expound Scripture so faithfully and relevantly that Jesus Christ is perceived in all his adequacy to meet human need.” The preacher should experience no less than revelation for their own life, and pass this living word from the living God to the living people of God.
Julian Freeman talks of hearing a preacher (lovingly) talk about his ‘large’ grandmother:
She was always cooking, he said, but never ate with the family. He couldn’t figure out, as a child, how she could be so large if she never ate. Then, one day, he watched her in her kitchen. As she cooked, she snacked. All day. This preacher said that we, as preachers, ought to be like his grandmother. We must be constantly snacking on the food that we’re preparing for others. When I do this, I think my sermons are more personal, more practical, more warm, and easier to hear. I just don’t do it enough.
I want to be personally gripped by what I discover in the scriptures. To soak in the text, drink deeply of it and be changed by it, and then work hard to find ways of unpacking this so as to act as a bridge between the the truths I have uncovered and the lives of the congregation. Truly effective preaching gets the preacher out of the way and allows God’s Word to speak by the Holy Spirit to God’s people.