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The Tensions of Preaching

This weekend I preached for the first time at Patterson. It went well and Shari actually said it was the best sermon I've ever preached. I don't know if I'm willing to go that far but I was happy. When I think about preaching, there are a few tensions that I keep in mind.

1. Humble while Confident

You can't enter the pulpit thinking you know it all but you also can't go in thinking you have nothing to say. The preacher should be humble enough to realize that while the Holy Spirit has lead the preparation, there is always more to learn and different perspectives to explore. Henry Wright, my preaching professor, told us that when we preach we need to have confidence in two things: your preparation and the Holy Spirit.

2. Hidden while Myself

I can't stand when the preacher gets up to pray, "Lord don't let people see me but you." Yet, it is a valid prayer and desire (I think I'm just tired of hearing it). The preacher shouldn't get in the way of what God wants to do yet we must authentically be ourselves at the same time. The preacher's personality and character in many ways determines how the message will be received. So while we should try to be "hidden," we must realize that God has empowered us to reveal who he is and we must do it in ways that fit who we are and what God has done in our lives.

3. Grounded in Ancient Scripture while Revealed in Present Realities

The hard, yet fulfilling, work of interpretation demands that we stay grounded in what has been revealed in Scripture. However, we must also interpret our present realities so that the 2,000+ year gap can be bridged and who God is will continue to be revealed.


JDavidNewman said…
Trevor, great points. Could I add one more---RELEVANCE. Every sermon I prepare I ask "What human need is this message meeting that touches on a majority of my members." I am sure you do this otherwise you will not keep people's attention, but it helps keep me focused in my preparation and in finding the most relevant and up to date stories.

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