Effective communication is a passion of mine. But when we speak in front of people on a regular basis it’s easy to lose sight of why we’re doing it.
How many pastors have found themselves deep in the weeds in sermon prep, trying to find just the right illustration, turn of phrase or rhyme so the last point matches the first two points?
When we’re trying to become a better preacher we can become enamored with all the wrong things:
- A clever sermon title
- Cool graphics
- Tweetable quotes
- Memorable alliterations
- More “amens” from the congregation
- The sound of our own voice
In the middle of pursuing all that we can lose sight of what really matters – honoring Christ and helping people become more like him.
Instead of preaching better sermons, we need to become more effective at using our words and actions to point people to Jesus.
It doesn’t matter if we call ourselves preachers, teachers or communicators. Or if what we’re delivering is called a sermon, a homily, a message or a talk. What matters is, are we making a difference? Is what we’re saying having the impact it needs to have?
Is it effective?
What Jeff Goins recently told writers applies to all communicators, including preachers. “Don’t be good. Be effective. Stop trying to be a good writer, and start trying to be effective.”
Where’s The Focus?
Becoming a great preacher is about me. Preaching more effectively is about Jesus. And connecting others to him.
An effective sermon isn’t one that makes people want to hear you speak again. It’s the one that makes people want to change their attitude, their character and their behavior to become more like Jesus.
And a really effective sermon doesn’t just make them want to become more like Jesus, it shows them how to take the next step to get there. It gives them the tools along with the inspiration. The “how to” is just as important as the “want to”.
Effective preachers don’t put themselves, or even the sermon first. They put Jesus first. We need to have an unquenchable passion to help people connect with Christ. Not with us.
Being a great preacher is fine.
Loving to listen to your favorite preacher is okay, too.
Wanting to become more like Jesus is better.
Giving people tools to become more like Jesus? That’s the best.
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