– For pastors, preachers, leaders, Bible study teachers, and for us all. –
If I preach a good sermon on a Sunday service:
I didn’t do it right.
Yes, I want to research hard. To study up, do the exegesis, dig up the Greek and Hebrew, get into my historical-grammatical exposition, find the redemptive purpose. I want to speak in a dynamic tone, find the best stories, sharpen my metaphors, keep it relevant, be self-aware and self-deprecating, know my people and give them permission to laugh.
All this is good.
But if people are saying, “You’re good” or “Great sermon!” — then I totally messed it up.
You know why, pastors. Because our job is to point to Him. To step out of the way so that instead of the hearers saying, “Isn’t our pastor great?” — they say, “Isn’t Jesus great?”
I understand though. Many churchgoers hear a sermon like they’re watching a movie, reviewing its contents and checking for internal consistency and mentally debating whether they like it or not. For many, it’s entertainment. Just a guy with a mic to inspire everyone.
And it’s very difficult to turn the tide on consumer consumption. Especially when most of our churches are set up like disposable theaters.
It’s also tough to get rid of that manic, desperate, sweaty demeanor that is begging for validation from the whole room. It’s not easy to stop saying with your body, “Do you like me? Am I cool? Is this working?”
With all this mixed in, it’s not easy to preach a good sermon. And certainly you don’t want to preach a bad one.
I’ve found that only one thing works.
And it’s exactly because you can’t “make it work.” It’s completely beyond formula, fashion, crafting, and content.