I am really not that good of a Preacher

It’s true.  Confession time: The biggest part of my life I wanted to be a great preacher.  By a great preacher I mean a person that has the uncanny ability to turn a phrase, rouse a crowd, and communicate with emotion and charisma.  A person that has a spotless record and every hair and item in his life in place. Having been raised in a Pentecostal/Full gospel church I have seen great preachers that could effortlessly move congregations and flow so easily in their sermon.  Much of this was called the “anointing.”  I coveted this. 

Fast forward 20 years later.  By the standard above I am not a good preacher.  I stumble over words, I can be monotone at times, I do not stir up crowds, and I am not a sought after speaker with the ability to fill a church.  I have had character flaws and public failures.  A complete reject?  Do I need to find something that I am good at?  Well, if a preacher was a profession, I probably should seek another line of work.  Because, according to natural standards I am not too great a preacher.  The truth of the matter is that God calls preachers.  He uses the weakest and most unassuming because it is about His glory and not human ability. 

It’s not about being great

There is a thing or two I would like to point out about preaching.  First, it is not about being a “great” preacher.  That is, it is not about charisma, being a wordsmith, or moving people emotionally.  I have a feeling that certain biblical figures such as Paul, Jerimiah and Moses were not great communicators either.  We have internal evidence from scripture that these men above were poor communicators and crowd motivators.  Jeremiah’s message was repeatedly unpopular and too “old fashion”.  Paul was heady, scholarly, lengthy, and boring some to sleep.  Moses was a poor speaker and very old.  Yet they are called and ordained by God to preach the word.  Many of them have serious faults, like the sin of murder and violence.  (I’m sure not to many modern church would be overly anxious to book them for a service). 

The message is the main thing

Too many people think the means is the main thing. BY means, I am taking about the delivery, the emotion, the feels, the lights camera action of the production of the sermon is the highlight.  Who wants a person, regularly dressed, behind a plain wooden podium, simply explaining scripture?   In his book, All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes, Ken Myers states that the means is the message.  Sadly, this holds true for many churches.  The preacher is aiming to evolve so as to be relevant.  The message has gotten lost or is overshadowed by the effort to proclaim it.  The message is at least diluted to no effect so as to make it palatable for the masses of thirsty for self-affirmation. 

Scripture is steady through thousands of years and over many different cultures: The message is the main thing.  God redeeming the world through Christ.  So the preacher is to bring this message.  How he does this is clear:

He does this through the word.

Yes the preacher is secondary to the Bible.  It is not a preacher’s time to shine when in the pulpit.  He is to get himself out of the way and proclaim what the Bible says.  A sermon should not be heavy on antidotes, jokes, personal experience, and personal convictions.  The message is the fruit of much labor to dig out what the Bible is saying. 

It is not an easy task to proclaim what the scripture teaches.  Much study, research and humility goes into an appropriate sermon preparation.  I have heard preachers take texts and use them as a platform to showcase their own ability to communicate and completely misrepresent an easy Biblical text.  What is worse the congregation did not even know the minister did not have a clue what he was talking about.   They were too drunk on a dilute sermon aimed at quenching the thirst of a people begging for self-affirmation.  Preach the Text!  Dig in and allow the text to speak!  Yes it is time consuming, self-abasing, tedious work.  One may not have enough time left over to focus on the pomp and circumstance of message delivery, but that is okay, that is preferable. 

My prayer as a preacher

I want to be clear.  I do not mean that I want to get a rise out of a congregation.  There was a day that I was addicted to the moving of a crowd.  I thought what a sermon went well is when I got the most feedback while preaching.  Not anymore.  Honestly, a complement or criticism roll off my back.  Not that I don’t appreciate a person expressing thanks for a sermon, but I have learned that if a sermon of mine is good, it is only because the Spirit spoke to the people and not because of anything I have done.  My prayer is to be clear.  To present the text as clear and accurate as I can.  The simple plain truth of text is the aim. 

I want to preach Christ.  The message is Him.  I must decrease and he must increase.  It is about Jesus and His sufficiency.  If the message is about my overcoming power or how I can do this or that, then I have missed it.  That is terrible preaching.  That is self-help and motivational speaking.  Preaching is about Christ.  Even when imperatives are set forth, Christ is still the aim, the foundation of the sermon. 

My prayer is that hearts are changed.  My ability to speak does not change hearts.  No amount of soft alter music, lighting, songs, or celebrity examples can change a heart.  God makes dead hearts live, He makes blind eyes open, He causes deaf ears to listen.  My prayer is that through the simple, clear, teaching of the text, that God will cause the word to make people spiritually alive, looking to Jesus as their savior. 

One last word

I’m not a great preacher.  Look to Jesus as your example.  I will fail you, I have failed many times in life.  Take ministers off the pedestal of those that are the best that religion has to offer.  Preachers are human.  Preachers will make you mad and disappoint you.  They will check up on you all the time, they will have bad days and bad attitudes.  They will say and do things in weakness that will disappoint.  But…they are not their message.  (Well, they are examples of God’s forgiveness and longsuffering) Don’t reject the preacher’s message because of the failure of the preacher.     

1 thought on “I am really not that good of a Preacher

  1. Minister B. Pruitt January 24, 2021 — 4:59 am

    Thank you, Your message to me was right on time. Thank you I needed this message. Its not about me.


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