You are convinced of your calling as a preacher. The church authorities too have given the green signal to go on with your efforts. As a result, you got ordained as a pastor after a few years of your first speech in the congregation. Know that this is the beginning of a journey filled with risks and rewards. The following observations would offer you great insights in the matter.
Being a minister is a calling; there is no doubt about it. But, this does not mean that you can feel relaxed thinking God would give you everything you need.
1. Go for expository preaching
Know that as a minister, you are not expected to display your scholarly knowledge. You don’t even have to narrate stories written by great Christian authors. You have to interpret God’s word. Unfortunately, this is an area most of the pastors of today fumble a lot. They would be knowledgeable people. But, they tend to believe that their knowledge plays a vital part in ministering to the church. This is true only to a certain extent. Know that God wants His children to be obedient to His word, not to man-made regulations. As a minister, you should be in a position to interpret gospel in today’s context. Choose a text for your speech; let the sermon focus on the verse you have chosen.
2. Trust the gospel
Remember, when you preach, it is God who is at work in the church. Your experience, age and background are not going to be of help to you in your attempts in this direction. They may contribute partly. However, you would need Holy Spirit’s prompting to get accepted or to be able to guide your congregation. Ask God for guidance and believe that He would help you when you fumble.
3. Go for shorter speeches
It is true that when you are fired up, you tend to go on talking for hours. But, remember that no one has the patience to listen to long speeches. Besides, the decision to make your sermon as short as possible would help you focus on one bible verse.
4. Be one with the congregation
You may be knowledgeable in theology. That does not mean that you can fill your sermons with jargon you are taught in the seminary. Be patient enough to explain what you are taught in layman’s language. This does not imply that you should be too simple, with your profound knowledge. Just be understandable. Allow your congregation to be helped by the knowledge you have.
5. Meditate on applicability
Simply interpreting bible may appear easy. But, you should keep in mind that your congregation is not going to benefit from your speech if the context is not appropriate. Analyze the scripture you have prepared for the sermon in view of its contextual value. Let the truth be a guiding force in their daily life.
Giving the sermon
You were working hard all this time. Now the actual occasion has come. You are asked to give a word of advice. Taking the following factors in mind would help you get along with your church.
- A. Establish a connection
The first thing you should do when on the pulpit is to establish a personal connection with the congregation. This does not apply to you if you are a familiar figure in your locality. Introduce yourself and talk about an experience you and most of the congregation shares. You can go on to the text of your focus based on this personal experience.
- B. Address a general concern
Discover a problem the congregation face in its daily life. Select your biblical passage accordingly. Explain how bible would answer their concerns. If time allows, dwell a bit deeper in the implication the problem can have in one’s life. Tell how the bible is powerful enough to sort out the issue for good. You should also make sure that you are not delving too much on people. Give God utmost importance. The best way to evaluate your sermon in this manner is to count the instances where you used the words like I, me, myself etc.
- C. Pause in between
Take care to ensure that you pause at regular intervals during the sermon. Spend time to explain the terms you have talked about. Surf the Internet; you would come across information on how to do it in the most effective way.
- D. Sound passionate
When preaching, you should guide your congregation through the bible with great enthusiasm. Let them know how much you care for God’s word. You can also invite the church members to share the same passion for gospel.
- E. Speak to all, not to Christians
Do not be under the impression that all those present in the church may be Christians. If your sermon is filled with jargons, those who are not Christians are sure to feel alienated. Do away with all theological references; let your speech be an exhortation to all present for the worship.
- F. Connect abstract ideas with something concrete
When preaching on the basis of the gospel, you would have to talk of the ideas like compassion, love etc. Be sure to connect it with a real-life experience. For instance, when talking about love, narrate a news or story capable of highlighting its power.
You can also gather a group willing to pray for your congregation before giving the sermon. Let your friends know of your topic; ask them to pray for the entire church in advance. The power of prayer is tremendous. And, you are sure to feel it when ministering.
A few additional tips
Cultivating the following habits would be of help to you as a preacher.
I. Let your mind be a farmland
If you are someone searching for information on how to preach effectively, your mind should be like a farmland. Sermons should develop and grow up inside you. Take time to spend with God in a quiet place. This would bring up new ideas. You should also carry a notebook with you. Write down the thoughts coming to you wherever you are. Read as much as you can. Reading would equip you with stories or narratives for any occasion.
II. Pray for your congregation
The advice may sound repetitive. However, it is something you should not ignore at any cost. Pray for the congregation which is entrusted in your care.
This is a small draft. Stay informed with the help of technology.
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About the Author
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Clement Chee loves traveling and taking photos. He serves as a youth leader and guitarist in his local church and authors a preaching blog where he shares his preaching tips, sermons and insights to fellow preachers on earth. For more information, please visit PreachingSecrets.com now.