Over at Euangelion, Joel Willits summarises a new book profiling 12 gifted contemporary preachers — Excellence in Preaching.
Some may have a bone to pick with one or two of the preachers singled out as excellent (and I haven’t even heard of a few of them — although maybe that says more about me than it does about the list). But there’s plenty to learn from 12 the things they do well:
- Show an awareness of cultural and philosophical challenges to the gospel.
- Inspire a passion for the glory of God.
- Allow the Bible to speak with simplicity and freshness.
- Be a Word-and-Spirit preacher.
- Use humour and stories to connect, engage and dismantle barriers.
- Create interest and apply well.
- Preach with spiritual formation in mind.
- Make much of Jesus Christ.
- Preach with urgency and evangelistic zeal.
- Persuade people with passionate argument from the Bible.
- Teach with directness, challenge and relevance.
- Expose all of God’s word to all of God’s people.
I can hardly claim to even begin to come at one or two of these.
But it is interesting to note how few of these are just about our style or effectiveness as communicators. Most are far more substantive matters relating to the message we proclaim and our awareness of the real life situation, struggles and questions of the real people we’re speaking to.
Says something perhaps about the kind of ‘training’ that will best equip people to be excellent preachers.