Ephesians 4:11 (ESV)
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers.
I’ve often wondered why there is such a variety of preaching styles when only one gift, the shepherd-teacher, is given by God.
Why is it that if I have the gift of teaching, and so do you, that our teaching styles will be so dramatically different?
As I’ve developed as a preacher of God’s Word over the last 18 years, understandably, my style has changed; hopefully matured. And as a third generation preacher in my family, I think I’ve grown comfortable in my own shoes.
Here’s what I’ve found to be significant markers in my own preaching ministry. These ‘markers’ aren’t meant to provide a point of difference in comparison to others, just my observations about what has grown most important in my ministry over the last few years.
Preaching should be…
Not youtube focused. Not magazine focused. Not even ‘my knowledge of greek’ focused. Just Word focused.
As preachers, we must be especially diligent in this area. I must continually battle the drift toward self promotion and ensure I’m focused on the Words of Life. I’ve written elsewhere about the need for Going Deeper… that should be our goal and effort.
One might rightly say that if we are Word focused we are also God glorifying. Yet it is also possible to focus on words in the text and be far from God glorifying. Our knowledge of original languages or the Greek literary devices utilised by Paul may be fascinating and even helpful in our preparation, but may not bring one second of glory to our eternally worthy God. Too often our efforts in truth proclaiming preaching is a shameful attempt at glorifying ourselves. Brothers, it must not be so.
Our preaching must bring God glory.
You’ve heard it. You know it.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Preaching – all preaching – must bring the Gospel to bear on our hearers. The traditional Gospel message was once relegated to the special evangelistic meeting, delivered by the specially gifted evangelist; but if that is where it ends, we are selling short the power and passion of the Gospel. The Gospel calls out to the lost, yes, but it also shapes the walk of faith by those who are found.
Preaching must produce something. But what? Smarter congregations? Congregations who are more comfortable? Maybe a more secure Pastoral position?
None of these things matter in eternity.
Preaching must build faith in the lives of our hearers.
Father, pour out your grace and raise up a passion for preaching. Lord let it start with me. Let those who are charged to shepherd your church be marked by word focused, God glorifying, Gospel saturated, faith building preaching. For the praise of your glory.