I had an opportunity to listen in on a four-hour event entitled, “Preaching Better Sermons” online, hosted by Preaching Rocket, a company which provides a product for pastors who wish to improve their communication, preparation and sermon delivery skills.
I was a bit skeptical about how this series would be able to help me with entering pastorship. I find myself concerned about how to write a sermon, although professionally I am an author and speaker. I perceive being a pastor as something that is reverent and teaching the word is a calling that when answered must be understood as a lifestyle that requires intimacy with Christ.
A pastor especially has to make Jesus Christ their Lord, and I was concerned in signing up to watch this that some pastors would talk about their own selves and abilities. I was right. But there were a few who were absolutely anointed and on point in their communication of the word.
Paul said, “Don’t use impressive words it’s a form of manipulation. When we’re writing to manipulate an audience we are actually not involved with what God is doing.” – Donald Miller, Pastor
I believe that the world’s educational system is infiltrating the church. The bible does not require us to go to Seminary. Yet many believe that you are not qualified to be a pastor unless you have. There is extreme pressure to measure up to someone’s belief in you when, in truth our ability to preach/teach/dissect the word of God comes out of a direct intimacy established between you and God.
This can not be manufactured. Your “hook” is your ability. God can give you exact words. If he can give you ideas, he can give you words. The challenge with me becoming a pastor is understanding the balance between preparation and yielding to the holy spirit. If the message is crafted, I believe it is predictive programming.
Below are a few quotes I recorded:
Preaching is not a transactional gig. Preaching is a word from God for the people of God in the moment. – Crawford Loritts
Leader development and leadership development: Lead for something, it’s not a static place. You are not a leader because you master something. – Crawford Loritts
I thought that the above really helped to explain what I was speaking about as well. I don’t believe we should be manufacturing our own teaching points and saying that we’re merely “inspired” by God. If this is the case, we are no different from a college instructor or professor, and if that be the case, we need to make it a class and allow people to sign up for it. Allow God to be his total self, decreasing you so that he can be magnified is important.
Could your message work if Jesus didn’t get up?
The person who mentioned this (who I was so appalled I forgot to write his name), was trying to say that we should be able to reach people whether we talk about Jesus’s resurrection, dying on a cross, heaven or hell, etc.. I absolutely disagree with this approach. The only thing that makes us different is the fact that Jesus got up. What kind of sense does that make?
The entire premise for the Christian proclamation, “We serve a living God” is because Jesus sits on the right hand of the father. In other religions, their deities and idols were myths or mortal men who are now dead. It sounds like he is a life coach using biblical principles, but he does not sound like a pastor to me.
The concerns that I have are in fact what are proposed in this article. Many of the speakers eluded to the idea that we should somehow craft our messages to emotionally connect and maintain audience attention. God is a spirit, and if our central theme is to cast an emotional spell on people, then we are not living what we claim to believe – that Jesus Christ is Lord and that his manifested presence can and does invade us.
Again, there were a few pastors/speakers that I found said a few profound things but for the most part it sounded like professional speakers were aiming to put Christ into the message to get followers to do what they wanted them to do. I am totally uninterested in this form of “preaching” and it scares me because while they don’t want to acknowledge that there is a hell, I know that manipulating people from the pulpit is unconscionable and dangerous enough to lead even pastors to hell.
Being a pastor is a huge responsibility. And, I’m certainly praying for Godly wisdom. God does not need us to manipulate or coerce people emotionally into paying attention in church. Rather than feeding emotions, we are to teach the life that is to be led and walked out in the spirit.
Ressurrection is a writer on subjects around Christianity, child sexual abuse, and homelessness. She is also an author and speaker accepting a call to pastor. She is available for conference, television and radio interviews.