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Have you heard the phrase, “Preach, Pray, Or Die”. Not a very jovial phrase, but you get the point. A pastor must always be ready to preach. Those in ministry most likely have been in this situation before, where something comes up and at the last-minute, your “number” is called. It’s not funny when it happens. But this video is hilarious to anyone who has experienced the “Saturday Sermon Crunch”.
Just a friendly reminder to always have an emergency or back-up sermon ready to go.
12 Things Good Preachers Do well
So if this was a checklist, how many of these things do you do well? What do you need to work on? If you’re like me, you have some things to work on. May God bless you as you pursue to improve your ministry to others!
(Credit: Conclusion of Excellence in Preaching by Simon Vibert)
Book Review: Excellence in Preaching by Simon Vibert
Bite-Size Candy. Have you noticed how all the favorite candies are going to bite-size now? You can get all your favorite treats in a little bag, all in bite size nuggets. Basically, it allows you to think you are eating less calories, while eating more than you would in a king-size pack. Essentially, that is what happened with this book. I found myself enjoying the “bite-sized” chapters, hoping to just digest one chapter at a time. And I found myself wanting to read more than my original appetite dictated.
Better Preacher Infomercial. You can almost hear in the background as you read, “Will make you a better preacher, or your money back!” You know what, this book could deliver on this promise. It truly holds golden principles that, if you put them into practice, will allow you to be a better preacher.
Come Along for the Ride. Each chapter summarizes sermons from some of the best preachers of God’s Word on the planet (Mr. Vibert, you forget Matt Chandler on this list…think about that for your sequel). The chapters take the strengths of each preacher and teach you how to implement those strengths into your preaching. Also, the author does a good job of keeping balance for the reader, understanding it is not intending to produce clones of these preachers, by following every aspect of their personality and preaching mannerisms.
Can’t Have Just One. It’s like Lay’s potato chips (can you tell I’m trying to eat right this week), you can’t eat just one. Same with the sermon summaries. Many times, the author chooses just one sermon to give illustrations of the preacher’s strengths. In my opinion, the chapters that mentioned other sermons brought more credibility to the instruction.
Pace Yourself. File this in the “not the author’s fault” category. But it would be wise to pace yourself. With the amount of “tips” this book provides, it would be wise to take them in bite-size chunks (again with the food!)
The Grade: B+
Every preacher should at least read the conclusion of the book. In fact, I’ll be sharing with my senior pastor the “12 Things Preachers Do Well” this week. Stay tuned, next week I will give you those 12 tips. You won’t want to miss those.
As I mentioned before, it was a fun ride. To be able to learn from some of the best preachers, and to have someone spell out what makes them good, makes it worth a read. I’ve got a long way to go in my preaching, but this was worth it for the training. I’m blessed to have a mentor to help me in my sermon prep and delivery, if you do not have someone like this, allow this book to mentor you and develop your preaching.
This past year, it’s true, I turned 30. And for the 3 or 4 of you that actually read this blog, I know my secret is safe with you. Turning 30 is pretty important. It’s not because you get your driver’s license, or you can get in any movie you want, or you can rent a car (which I believe is 25, kind of a weird rule). It’s something much more spiritual, monumental, and reflective…
30 years old. Wow. Some may call it young. Some may call it old (Like my students. One of which asked me about the 70’s…he was serious, and I was serious when I told him I was born in 1982). Nevertheless, turning 30 is significant if you are a student of Scripture. You see, according to Luke 3:23, Jesus was 30 when he began his public, earthly ministry. It was the year the Messiah started his ministry career, gathered 11 young men and Peter for discipleship, and began teaching, healing, and doing miracles. The Christ was about to make His name known, all the while knowing, that in 3 years’ time, He would willingly give His life, and completely transform the world.
Now you see why it is signficant? Now, I certainly have very few things in common with the perfect Savior. But turning 30 is something we both have in common. Sure, it’s a small straw to hold on to, but it does cause one to reflect how much my life resembles the Savior’s at 30. Here are some things that come to mind:
Sure, I’ll never perform miracles at weddings this year, raise someone from the dead, and probably won’t be preaching from a boat anytime soon…but I can still make my earthly ministry significant, and after turning 30, there’s no better time.
A few weeks ago I was able to attend a youth baseball game with my family. We were cheering on one of our students that will be in 7th grade next year. It was a great opportunity to show our support for him and his family…and then it happened…
Picture this. The home team had been down the whole game, and they were mounting a comeback. There was only one out, and there were runners on 2nd and 3rd. The batter stepped in for the pitch. “Ball four, take your base”, the umpire yelled. The coach on 3rd claps his hands, and says “At a boy, hustle on down there”. The player on 1st, who had limited baseball experience, took the coach’s advice. He hustled to home. The only problem was the catcher still had the ball, and he was tagged out easily. The coach (with visible steam coming out of his ears) wisely did not say a word, but his face said it all. The mom of the boy (she was sitting in front of me) asked me what happened. I told her. She said with sympathy and believability, “Oh OK, it was a miscommunication. This is a learning experience.” Probably knowing she would have to console her son after the game.
Why do I tell you this heartbreaking story? Well, the mom was right, this is a learning experience. You see, we listen to the wrong instruction all the time, thinking it is for us. We fall into the trap of what the world labels as success, whether it is money, fame, prestige, title, or possessions. We run towards those. Yes you do. You don’t? You mind if I check your credit card statement? Can I follow you around for a week and journal how you spend your time?
I’ve mentioned this on my blog before; one of my biggest fears is that I would waste my life. That I would run towards things that have no value. As Francis Chan said in Crazy Love, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” And everything in me does not want my life to be a road to nowhere… Let me give you a few examples of those things we run towards from a sermon a few weeks ago…
Is it lust? Where it takes you to places that will shock you and leave you lost on a road to more destruction?
Is it worldly gain? Money, career success…You keep on that road, you will be shocked you were on a road to unfulfillment and never-ending toil.
Is it approval/love from others? You think you are doing everything right, but you are shocked all this time it was for the wrong reasons and you were on a road to a shallowness and frivolity.
I don’t want my life to be a baffling mistake, and when it is time to go home, my coach in heaven looks at me with disappointment. On the contrary, I want to cross home plate knowing I did everything I could for the glory of God and to spread the Gospel and love of Jesus to others. Let all of us strive to NEVER be an easy out, and to cross home with our coach saying “well done”.