Preaching Articles

I’ve been pondering the issue of preaching the person. The person of Christ. The personal Triune God. If we aren’t captivated by the personal God that we know personally, then our preaching can too easily slip into instructional education and moralistic tirades. It is the person that captivates and draws listeners.

Let’s ponder a simple scale of personal encounter:

1. The moment of meeting – The truth is that as humans made in the image of a relational God, we are well attuned to each encounter we have with other persons. Within seconds we will determine subconsciously whether we like somebody. They might be a waitress, an airline check-in clerk, a salesman. It really doesn’t take long to determine our feelings about someone we meet. And those initial feelings can take a while to be reversed by further interaction. (Incidentally, as preachers we need to understand the power of our opening moments, those first seconds of encounter and introduction. But that is to get side-tracked.)

2. The power of love – Then there is the ongoing relational encounter. After the first impressions come the ongoing interaction, communication, sharing of life experiences and so on, all building a relationship so that we go beyond liking or disliking to deeply trusting (or distrusting), to loving (or the opposite). The follow-up relational interaction can be so powerful.

(Again, to get sidetracked for a second, we mustn’t be naive about the power of inappropriate interaction with members of the opposite sex—the magnetic power of interpersonal attraction has led many to compromise everything and discover the regret of the stealing power of sin. Preachers, we are susceptible!)

Getting back on track, what am I saying with all this? Well, I can, if I’m honest, express whether I like someone after moments of meeting. And those whom I’ve known and developed a relationship with, mutually loving and caring and sharing life together ... these are people I can talk about at some length, with my heart showing for them.

What does all this have to do with preaching? The second level of enthused personal connection is missing with some. Even the initial encounter response is apparently absent in some preaching. It is hard to tell with some preachers if they really like God at all. What are we to say to this?

If the God in our sights is benign, our preaching will be the same.

Rather than putting this in the negative, let me state this positively. Read God’s Word and get to know our personal and wonderful God. Then preach His Word. What a privilege.

And when we preach the Person, our preaching won’t feel like a pressure project, but will have a captivating and gripping power beyond words!

Peter Mead is involved in the leadership team of a church plant in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at and recently authored Pleased to Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation (Christian Focus, 2014). Follow him on Twitter

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John E Miller

commented on Aug 31, 2012

A wonderful summing up of every preacher's responsibility and priviledge, "Preach the Person." We can do nothing greater, we dare do nothing less.

Ephrem Hagos

commented on Aug 31, 2012

Which Person of Christ: the theological construct or the independently self-revealing "source of life" according to the Scriptures? The latter is found in the kind of death he suffered on the cross!

Keith B

commented on Aug 31, 2012

Good article.

John E Miller

commented on Aug 31, 2012

#2 Maybe I'm just thick but my question is, "What on earth do you mean?"

David Raybern Rash

commented on Aug 31, 2012

Great article. Christianity is our relationship with God. I'm amazed at how far (to use your words) "instructional education and moralistic tirades" can draw us away from the real deal. Jesus is the real deal.

Anthony R. Watson

commented on Aug 31, 2012

Gentlemen, I would like to recommend a book entitled: Preaching Jesus Christ by George G. Buttrick.

Pastor Sandy .

commented on Sep 1, 2012

#6 - surely that was just an oversight - you did mean "ladies and gentlemen", right?

Dennis Cocks

commented on Sep 3, 2012

Yep, I'm sure #6 meant "ladies and gentelmen" "Mischa". Because only "spiritual bullies" would dare question a "woman's right" to preach. You keep bringing it up, I'll continue to point out what the Bible says. It's up to you.

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