What does it take to preach? I'm sure that's open to debate and would be answered in many different ways by different preachers. What I'm about to share doesn't apply to style or structure. The following are the things that are important to me, four corners of the 'building' of preaching a message from God's Word. To me, they are non-negotiable, they are mandatory if we intend to connect the people of God with His heart. And after 30 years of preaching, I've found every preacher that has impacted my life demonstrates these as well.
A - the Anointing. It is first and there is no substitute. The anointing is the touch of the Spirit, and it only comes from spending time with Him. While every preacher studies and prepares to preach in his or her own way, the anointing on the message preached is always conveyed to, and received by, the hearers in the same way. It convicts, encourages, reveals Jesus, instills hope, lifts the human spirit, empowers, thrills, builds faith, and a thousand other things. The anointing can't be duplicated by great public speakers, or actors, because it is entirely of the Spirit.
B - Brokenness. This is costly, but it's my belief the most lasting and impactful preaching comes out of godly brokenness. This doesn't mean the preacher's life must produce some sort of crisis or hurt, it simply means there must be a brokenness before God. In other words, our own testimonies, deliverances, and the like can certainly be a source of being broken before Him, but not a necessity. All of us as Believers will experience a lifetime of hurts and healings, all of us will be tried and find our triumphs in the Lord. Yet a godly brokenness isn't dependent on these! It's a combination of our dependency on the Spirit in every message we preach, being serious about the value of every preaching opportunity, preaching with humility, expecting miracles as a result of our preaching, and so on.
C - Content. What do we hope to say as we are preaching? Where do we get our material? Sure, we begin with the Word of God, but what specific text are we going to use? And from that text, what does the Spirit want to impart into the hearts of the Believers? Along with the Word, what other sources might we refer to? Here's where I want to emphasize something that I never hear preachers talk about. My respect for preaching is so high that I am highly sensitive to the impact my references have on God's people. If I refer to a song, television show, movie, web site, or other source, I instantly give it potential credibility. At the very least, I create curiosity and may send the Lord's people to review material that is harmful to their faith. Preachers, let's be very careful what material we use in our preaching and how we use it. There's enough content in the Bible for our messages for the rest of our lives. Bottom line: content is critical.
D - Delivery. Here's where the passion has to be provided, and it has to come from within the preacher! What a privilege to preach the Word of the living God, to be called by the Lord to share the Hope of all the world! Our delivery is the part I believe we have the most input into and control over. Especially when preaching outside in open-air meetings, delivery is the part the Spirit uses to connect with our audience. Everywhere I go, anywhere in the world, listeners respond to passion in preaching! I've heard many in ministry try to explain this away, I've heard them disparage it and even try to equate passionate preaching with being less intelligent, but the fact remains that passionate preaching is powerful! No, I do not mean yelling for the sake of being loud, and I do not mean a faked or humanly manufactured passion. The listeners know the difference. What I am talking about is being willing to be seen as belonging to the Spirit in the preaching, being willing to even allow your body to be His while you preach. A lack of passion in the preacher can severely diminish the impact of A,B, and C.
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