Be the Preacher that Ministers!
by The Andrew Ho Page on Monday, June 20, 2011 at 5:26pm
I was having lunch with a friend today and we were discussing about sermons we’ve heard. Let’s just call him Ah Yap. I have heard sermons which were just wrong in substance and those that were correct. While it is easy for me to ignore sermons that are outright erroneous and wrong. That I can just ignore it and call it a bad day. But then how about sermons from preachers that are correct in substance and sound in doctrine? I seek to understand why do I sometimes feel bored while listening to them, other times distracted and not paying full attention. I wonder if it is my fault for not being able to be a good listener.
While we were talking, I came up with an answer. I have heard sermons from as long as 10 years ago, remembering some of them till now and on the contrary find some sermons hard to remember by even if I’ve heard it 2 weeks ago. What is the matter? In my point of view, and do not be offended if you’re a preacher. As a member of the congregation who listens to sermons all my life, I find it so much more easier to relate and pay attention to sermons that are ministering to me rather than sermons which only focuses on the constant bombarding of information.
What is the difference? Let me explain.
I can prepare a sermon which is doctrinal sound and just. I can put all the information in the 60 powerpoint slides I prepared. I go up to the stage and start presenting, giving out information over information, verses after verses and theology over theology. I wouldn’t be surprise, even with the right content and substance, the people in the congregation will find it hard to remember all the statements that I’ve made. Perhaps so they will find it a little dry and couldn’t pay full attention to the entire 45 minutes I am speaking.
What have I done and how can I improve myself? The key word here is “ministering”. Yes, I was bombarding the congregation with a lot of good doctrines. But I wasn’t exactly ministering to them, feeding them and giving them something they can bring home. I was only giving a presentation of information. But I don’t want to be just that, I want to be practical, I want to preach in a way that I can minister. That through the word I speak, I may relate to their everyday experience, everyday struggles which are close to them. Something relevant that they can feed on. When I can minister to them in such a way, I am sure they are going to benefit from the sermon.
To go up and preach is not an easy task. That I fully understand, to be a fantastic speaker, that goes beyond skill, that goes beyond ourselves. We also need the Holy Spirit and the anointing, the calling from God. But I believe it will be great if we are heading towards that direction, from where we are not just a textbook with a lot of information. But we are also ministers that can speak to the congregation, being sensitive to what the Lord wants us to share this week.
You may never know, maybe someone down there is going through a lot of rejections today, and all she needs is to be reminded that she is dearly loved by God. Instead of going up there and explain the difference between sanctification and justification. You being a minister and not merely a theology teacher goes up and open with “Jesus loves you! No matter who you are or what you’ve done, no matter who rejects you, Jesus always loves you and He always accepts you as His daughter!”