an ongoing series on biblical preaching
In the last decade I have invested a lot of time in public speaking. With employee meetings, plenary sessions, breakouts at conferences, consulting ministry leaders, and speaking on books I have written, I have given hundreds and hundreds of leadership and ministry presentations. I have also preached weekly for the last several years as executive pastor, teaching pastor, interim pastor, and now a bi-vocational senior pastor. Preaching is different. In both the burden of responsibility and the eternal impact, preaching the Word of God to a congregation of His people far outweighs speaking on other subjects. Preaching differs from other speaking in that the message we deliver is the only message that will endure forever (Isaiah 40:8), the only message that brings someone to saving faith (Romans 10:17), and the only message that can transform the human heart (1 Peter 1:23).
So how do I define preaching—the sacred stewardship of handling the Scripture and presenting it to a group of people? Because a messenger delivers a message, I want to focus on both aspects of preaching: the messenger and the message.
Aristotle taught that effective communicators possess ethos (credibility), pathos (passion), and logos (logic). All three are essential; as they increase, so does the power of the presentation. Though not designed for those of us who preach the life-giving message of Christ, the applications are clear.
The fable of the boy who cried wolf taught us from a young age that true messages are not heard when they are delivered from people who are deemed untrustworthy. A preacher without credibility is a preacher whose message won’t really be heard. Which means we must repent before we ask those …