Proclaiming the Word
Perhaps the most public aspect of of the pastoral ministry, preaching was the topic of our most recent class. We discussed things like the purpose of preaching, the practice of preaching, preparation for preaching, and what the pastor’s role is.
Proclaiming the Word
The primary purpose of preaching is proclaiming the Word of God, the full counsel of God. With each Scripture verse which the pastor is asked to preach, he is called to faithfully preach that text, especially proclaiming God’s work for us through Jesus Christ.
A Witness of the Word
There are several roles that pastors have seen themselves in as preacher, harald, teacher, storyteller, etc. The role this class encouraged was that of a witness. As the pastor begins to prepare for a his sermon, he opens up the Bible and begins to experience the text for the sermon. Through prayer and study he discovers what God is saying in that text to His people, specifically to the congregation who will hear that sermon. Then, when the sermon is finally preached, it is not as a teacher lecturing, but rather as a witness telling what he has witnessed. Retelling what he discovered in the Scripture
How to Preach in 5 Easy Steps
We also spent a good bit of time talking about how to preach. Unfortunately, there are no 5 easy steps. In fact, there are several aspects to how a pastor preaches which are determined by who he is and what he is comfortable with. Even still, there are guidelines and tips which all pastors can use to help them in their preaching. We discussed things like illustrations, sermon structures, visual aids, sermon length, and several other things.
Some Fun Discussions
One of the more interesting discussions was on sermon length. Some felt that a sermon should only be a few minutes long, no longer than 7-10 minutes. Others thought that preaching for 30-40 minutes was fine. And some liked the middle ground, somewhere around 15-20 minutes. Everyone had their reasons. The short sermon proponents thought that if a pastor preaches more than 10 minutes, they were probably repeating themselves or not staying on topic. Others, however, felt that 10 minutes wasn’t enough time to fully develop the message, including illustrations to connect with people and practical insights. As you might expect, no definitive answer was ever agreed on, but it was a good discussion.
Another good discussion was on the inclusion of personal stories in the sermon. Some felt that a pastor talking about his own life wasn’t helpful because the Scripture is supposed to be the focus of the sermon. While others thought that personal stories, used appropriately, served to create a connection with the congregation and help to convey the message of the Scriptures.
I think we all came away with a greater understanding of what preaching was and how to give better sermons (at least I hope so). Now, if we can just put that into practice… 🙂
End of the Recap – Start of a New Class
Well, that brings us up to date. If you’ve been following the blog for the past week and a half, you’ve read about the six classes that Bill and I have taken so far. It’s been an exciting adventure so far and I know I’ve learned a lot.
Today, begins our next class, Teaching the Faith. We’ll have our first weekly class tonight. My plan at this point is to publish a blog post about the week’s class/topic each Wednesday morning after the Tuesday night class. I hope you all will join with Bill and I in this journey. Learn along with us, ask questions, and especially pray for us.
Share Your Thoughts:
- What do you like (or dislike) in a sermon?
- What do you think the optimal length of a sermon is?
- Do you think pastors should use personal stories in their sermons?