One of the hardest things about preaching is finding your own voice. When I took to the pulpit, I found myself wanting to preach like whomever I had most recently listened to. After listening to Tony Campolo, I decided the secret to great communicating is story telling. After listening to Earl Palmer, I yearned for the informed lucidity of a master teacher. After listening to Lloyd Ogilvie's basso profoundo, I went on steroids.
In this respect, if no other, I think preaching is more difficult in the day of Christian radio and tape ministries than in previous centuries. At least in the 1520s, pastors didn't have to listen to: "Pastor, I'm ordering Martin Luther's tape series--'Opening the Wittenberg Door of Spiritual Growth: 95 Practical, Biblical Theses You've Got to Know'--just for you. I don't know why we don't hear stories about the pope like that around here. That's what I call preaching!"
If we can't beat this pressure to imitate great communicators, why not join it? In that spirit, ...1