not really sure how to title this post, so i’ll do it after i write…
last night i went to a christmas celebration/fund raising banquet for a well-known ministry here in the metroplex. the founder and namesake of the ministry is a high profile pastor, author, preacher, executive, and church leader. his ministry is world wide and his influence for the gospel and the cause of christ is profound.
although i know little of his church background, theology, or personal life history, i find him to be engaging and his ministry, at least from the view i have, to be one of integrity. but that’s not what i’m writing about this morning.
after the catered meal and special music (that’s another story for another time), this pastor got up to address the two-three thousand of us that were seated in the grand ballroom of the convention center. it was his opportunity to thank all of his regular supporters and future donors to the special ministry project they were highlighting.
as he began to speak, it was obvious he had the crowd in the palm of his hand. he is folksy, home-spun, and very “good-ole boy”. his face is animated. his hand and facial gestures were sincere and fully integrated into what he was saying. he was incredibly funny. his “down home” one-liners never seemed rehearsed. he was self-deprecating in a hilarious way.
the first 20 minutes of his presentation was obviously the warm up for the main show. when it was time to get serious, he rolled up his speaking sleeves and went to work. he spoke passionately. he was a wordsmith. he wove stories with theology. he spoke boldly and with conviction. he cried. he yelled (not in anger). his voice inflection changed with a pace that was no accident, but didn’t seem contrived. people were glued to the jumbotrons on either side of the massive room.
his presentation was full of drama. it was emotive. he never looked at a note. he never seemed at a loss for words. even though parts of the message seemed like he was just talking with friends, other parts seemed like a presidential address. he spoke with absolute authority. he is a deeply gifted communicator. he is skilled in the art of preaching.
here’s what i was thinking, tho… it seems like a lot of christians like this style of preaching. loud. dramatic. authoritative. emotive. i don’t. i never have.
i tend to watch guys that preach with drama and animation (hands, voice and body) and get sidetracked from the content of what they are speaking about. on top of that, i really wonder how people who are skeptical of the gospel respond to this kind of presentation?
where did we get this model of preaching? is it biblical? is is cultural? is it a tradition that has been passed down from church leader to church leader through the ages? even our greatest public communicators don’t speak like these preachers do.
how about you? what do you think of preaching? what do you connect with? more importantly, what do you think your skeptic friends would connect with?