Another preaching thought…

i’ve been thinking more about my post earlier this morning.  here’s an observation:

as i look at the modern preacher, especially the high profile, media-driven, mega-church, big guys…i see men who are incredibly gifted communicators who have worked hard to refine their craft to be as effective as possible at communicating the gospel.  they are dramatic…emotive…entertaining…surprising…powerful…attention grabbing…outgoing…

they make use of creative vocabulary.  they work diligently to make the right combination of eye contact, hand gestures, stage movement, dress, and tone of voice.

they are fully aware of the personality and mood of the audience.  they are flexible and responsive.  they are completely connected to the power of the spoken word to move people, change people, inspire people.  their goal is to fully engage the listener and get them to hang on every word…and ultimately respond to what is being said.

it seems to me that the only other people in our culture that have these kinds of communication goals and characteristics are football coaches giving the pre-game pep talks…and stand up comedians.


6 thoughts on “Another preaching thought…

  1. I really thought about this. Personally, I connect with real people speaking truth from God’s word and pointing me to Jesus.

  2. I agree with Debbie. I can’t really imagine Peter or Paul (or Jesus) practicing in front of a mirror. I connect with people who care enough to speak the truth in love. In my experience, that can be done in many different styles. The heart and intent will show through. Some of the most moving sermons I have ever heard were not very polished, but they certainly were real.

  3. Perhaps the preachers in question here are employing something that teachers are encouraged to do in classrooms: differentiate instruction. It’s the idea of teaching (in this case speaking to) each person in a way that they can respond to in hopes of reaching the largest group of people possible. This is very helpful in education. I’m not sure to what extent it should be employed in ministry, but I’m not quite sure it’s really that bad of a thing as long as it’s genuine.

  4. God gave each of us unique gifts. I believe that goes for preachers and teachers too. There are charismatic speakers (in the spell binding way you describe, not necessarily in their theology) in all walks of life; lawyers in front of juries, football coaches in front of their teams, bosses to their employees, politicians to their minions and certainly preachers in front of people. Not to say they didn’t work hard to hone their talent, but for the best ones, it’s natural and not hard work at all. I’ve seen executives walk into a meeting room totally unprepared to give a speech, set in the back of a room with thousands of people in attendance, ask what the theme of the meeting is, write five or six words on a piece of paper, and then give a riveting half hour presentation that is insightful, motivating, and everything you described about modern preachers. That is a gift.

    I don’t believe that makes one type of speaker more effective, or more valuable in God’s eyes – and isn’t that what really matters? My view is that we will each be judged by what we’ve done with what God has gifted each of us. He knows if we are maximizing our gifts and I doubt He decides by looking at attendance records at public speaking venues or by how many people were moved by each presentation. Satan can draw a crowd and motivate it to action; even Jim Jones drew a crowd and motivated it to action.

    I think Debbie and Kristi nailed it. If it is the congregation’s duty to bring the fork, it is the preacher’s obligation to bring the meat. There are many great ways to prepare and serve the meat. PEOPLE will always have preferences. God knows what He wants.

    And when did the goal of the Church become being “modern?” The goal of the Church is to lead people to Christ. I would add by using the talents and gifts God gave you to do it with. Phenomenal public speaker, humble servant, or anywhere in between, God uses everyone.

  5. well said…all of you! thanks for not taking my observations as criticism. far from it. it was simply wondering on my part…on my never ending journey to do the best i can with what god has given me. dale, you hit the nail on the head.

    for the record, the preacher i heard at the banquet the other night is a tremendous man with a life full of integrity and a vision for ministry that is inspiring. just wanted to get that out there.

  6. God is Sovereign.

    He knows the type of pastor needed to best speak to the people of a particular church.

    He wants us to be comfortable so that we can be prepared for the uncomfortable that comes with serving and loving in His selfless love.

    He wants us to understand and relate so that we can then get out there and work to pass on that understanding and relating to others less understandable and “unrelatable”.

    I think God truly gifts each pastor/teacher/evangelist to match the needs of his/her flock.

    Sure there are moments where a human pastor/teacher/evangelist gets sidetracked in their ministries. They begin to focus on a numbers game or a recognition game (“Am I in the TOP Churches list this month?”)

    But I think each pastor/teacher/evangelist needs to consider WHAT part of the body of Christ they are leading and serve accordingly.

    A person who is gifted by God as a “foot” (go and travel and teach/preach”) is not going to be best able to train a “hand” how to serve locally in a place and among people they know nothing about.

    Such comparisons could be made for EVERY part of the Body of Christ that is represented by our local churches.

    Mike, what you have described is standard training for public speaking to be able to have their audience identify with them. Oddly, you do that – but your audience is more like you for God put you over a church that is similiar to how he core-gifted you and stocked your spiritual gift bank.

    You too identify with your audience and say and do things to connect with us and have us connect to you. You have to in order for us to listen and pay attention (which we are lol. promise.)

    If NP were led by someone like the pastor mentioned we wouldn’t be the church we are…over time the part (and purpose) of the Body of Christ that we are would change as people gifted by God to serve in various functions within the Body of Christ would leave.

    We are all where we are at for one divine reason: Love God and Love Others.

    Each church matters individually collectively.

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