It just so happens that this morning, I began a journey with a group of area pastors where each month we watch a video of a sermon by one member in the group and the rest of us then give feedback. Today was our first installment as we watched a great sermon by my friend Kevin Snyder and then we had a very open discussion on his sermon. It was a wonderful time of open and honest communication with the goal of helping all of us become better.
It is a shame that so many pastors don’t take the time to go through an exercise like this. Too many think that it is somehow a lack of trust in God to strive to learn techniques and ways to become a better presenter. In no way are we dishonoring God or discounting the Holy Spirit when we strive to make ourselves better at what we do. We should break it down and look at what is distracting, what is counterproductive, what can be removed, and what needs to be added. We should learn the importance of cadence and inflection. We need to know how to properly use illustrations and stories. We have a message that people need to hear. We have an imperative to make sure that message is effectively presented.
Yes, we rely on the Holy Spirit to bring the life change to the hearer. Of course, we follow the prompting of God in preparation and direction. It is the delivery we can learn to improve.
Quite honestly, anything less than our best effort in this area is dishonoring God. If we don’t strive to get better than we are failing in our mandate. If a preacher is not better this year than they were last year, he/she has missed and opportunity. If I don’t present the Gospel more effectively now than I did 5 years ago, I have wasted my time for the last 5 years. Worse, I have wasted God’s purposes. While God can use any of us at anytime, think of how much more He could do through us if we were doing everything we could to get better at what He has called us to do.
What do you think?