I had a conversation with a couple of good Christian friends over the last few weeks concerning effective preaching at Church. In both those conversations it was noted that we need to communicate Biblical teaching in a way that the average person can understand, yet also feeds those ‘more experienced/mature’ Christians. I have seen a number of churches go down the path of “dumbing down” the message in an honest attempt of connect with the ‘unchurched’. Biblical words are not used, but rather language that the speaker perceives the current generation will understand better.
No Personal Application
On the other hand we sometimes hear messages whereby the preacher embarks on an intellectual display of in-depth biblical concepts but fails to package or summarise the key messages in a manner that people can relate to. The result is no personal application or connection on the part of listeners.
Obviously, both extremes have negative implications which cheat the congregation of the spiritual growth that comes from the proper understanding of God’s word.
Christians Need to be Taught
Personally I get frustrated that much of the modern church has put away the use of ‘biblical’ language in favour of the terminology of the ‘common’ person. The problem with this is when one reads the Bible for themselves they are less equipped to understand it. Grace, sin, justification, adoption, redemption, mercy, propitiation, repentance, atonement, sanctification and salvation are all foundational biblical words. Christians need to be taught these words and the priceless truths they contain.
Equally as important is to mention the objective of the one who is preaching. There are those who have the desire to deliver Gospel-centered messages but need to work on becoming more effective in communicating it. However, there are also those who simply want to convey a different message to that of the Gospel; one that may push their own agenda instead of the one that God has called all Christians to – equipping people with the Gospel.
Be Up Front
In my experience I connect most with preachers who combine good theology and solid teaching with real life application and experiences. I feel the more effective preachers who inspire others are those who are vulnerable; those who are willing at the appropriate times to be up front about their humanity and struggles. This highlights the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and helps people to realize that God uses ordinary people to do His work. No matter our struggles, if we trust and allow God to change our lives, we all have hope and an important part to play.
There are obviously many factors that constitute an effective Bible teacher/preacher. I have mentioned a few from my personal experience. What about you?
What are the key ingredients for preachers to inspire people to know God and follow Him more?
What are the styles that best enable people from a large spiritual spectrum of maturity to be fed and challenged from the Bible?
We have the most important message this world needs to hear and embrace. Let’s not tire in learning how to most effectively communicate it.