A preaching ministry is built on a whole set of convictions. Convictions about God, the Gospel, about people, about ministry. It is right that we let these convictions grow over time as we spend time in the Bible, and learn from mentors, from experience, from life. In this post I’d like to flag up one of these convictions.
Here it is: God is a good communicator.
This seems so obvious, but so many build a preaching ministry without this conviction in place. Here are some implications of this conviction to ponder:
1. No matter how clever you are, what you can make it say is not as good as what God made it say.
So do your best to preach what the text is saying. Do your best to let the details, and also the form of the text influence how you preach it. Try not to just say what it says, but also to do what it does. Seek to re-create the effect and the affect of the text!
2. Our job is not to make the Bible interesting.
Whatever other good reasons there are for using “illustrations” in your preaching, this is not one of them. We should seek to explain, prove and apply as well and as interestingly as we can, but first of all we must be gripped with enthusiasm for God and His Word if we are to communicate it with any contagious influence. Simply trying to add interesting material like spicing a bland steak is not our calling.
3. We do not make the Bible relevant, we demonstrate and emphasize its relevance.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful. All of it. Our task is to help people see that.
4. Reading the Bible is not a curse.
Forget preaching it for a moment, some of us seem intent on convincing Christians that reading the Bible is a negative thing. I’ve heard well-meaning Christians teach that it is hard to enjoy the Bible, so just go for the smallest goals possible. If we give the impression that reading the Bible is a drudgery that can only be achieved by courageous acts of self-determination, then let’s not be surprised if people don’t spend much time in it.
God is a good communicator. That conviction is critical for effective preaching.