Do you know why your preaching stinks? My guess is, probably not, which is precisely why it stinks. Now, don’t look at me that way. I know what you’re thinking. You’ve had two funerals to officiate this week that you hadn’t planned on. Your finance committee is waiting for your best attempt at a budget. Your flock has never needed more counseling in their lives. And you still want to be a good daddy to the children you know won’t be young forever. You’re doing the best you can, right?
Maybe… then again, maybe not.
Listen, I’m not trying to come down hard on you. I know the crunch. I’m a pastor, too. I’m familiar with the grind. I know the feeling of waking up and wondering if you could ever possibly find something else creative to say. I know that subtle thought that sneaks up in the back of your mind that whispers, At least if you worked at Chick-Fil-A, you’d get Sundays off. I’ve been there. And yet that doesn’t ever excuse a lazy attitude toward preaching the word of God. You’ve been equipped for so much more.
You don’t have to settle for mediocre preaching. You’ve been given a Spirit that is anything but mediocre. You have the Spirit of Almighty God in you. Perhaps you’ve just forgotten that.
Maybe the main reason your preaching is subpar is because your expectations are subpar. You’ve just forgotten what God wants to do through you. If that’s you, I have a recommendation for you. I want you to preach as if heaven and hell depended on it. Because guess what? It does.
I want you to pray for your sermons as if God himself is listening. Because guess what? He is. I want you to deliver your sermon as if the people in the room desperately needed to hear what you have to say. Because guess what? They do.
I want you to preach with the burden that your words have the power to save people from the clutches of an enemy who has his teeth bared, ready to devour them. Because guess what? They do. I want you to study the scriptures as if they contained the power to utterly transform any broken heart. Because guess what? They do.
I want you to step into the pulpit with a boldness that comes from knowing Christ is in you. Because guess what? He is. (Are you annoyed by this yet?) Here’s my point. You are wielding an infinite power every time you step into that pulpit. Preach like it’s true. If all that doesn’t work, maybe there’s just one other thing holding you back.
Maybe, just maybe, the main reason your preaching is inadequate is because, deep down inside, you feel inadequate. You’ve forgotten to believe the gospel you’re dishing out. Now, I may be assuming here; but my guess is, if you’re bold enough to stand in the pulpit, it’s because you believe the gospel is the answer to every person’s problems. Preacher, don’t forget, it’s your answer too. The gospel is enough for you.
Yeah, you stink. Own it. Then remember that Jesus is in the business of taking foul-smelling sinners and making them freakishly-powerful saints. Maybe instead of working a little harder to perfect your craft, you need to believe a little deeper in the power behind your craft. The power of the gospel is enough to use little ol’ you to change the eternity of the people listening to you. He doesn’t just do that for the Billy Grahams, Tony Evans’, or Matt Chandlers of the world. He does it for anyone foolish enough to believe God is still in the business of changing lives through his gospel. I hope that foolish someone is you.