Is it possible to have the gift and preach poorly? Is it possible to not have the gift and preach well? If I have a group of 20 students in a preaching class, should the gifted ones ignore the class because they have the gift, and should those without the gift ignore the class because they can’t preach anyway? My question is not should everyone ignore me, that’s a different issue. My question is about who should preach, what does it involve?
Gifting for Preaching – A good starting point is to note that the lists of spiritual gifts do not include a gift of preaching. There is a gift of teaching, but is that the only gift that might be helpful from the pulpit? What about evangelist, exhortation, leadership, pastor, etc.? Many of the gifts can be a real asset to pulpit ministry. I am certainly not saying everyone should preach, but perhaps an individual motivated to try preaching should not dwell primarily on whether they have the right gift or not. There is more to it than that.
Skilled for Preaching – Whatever gifting one has, it is important to be a good steward of that gifting. We should “fan into flame” what God has put in us. This will involve not only use of our gifts, but also training, mentoring, personal discipline, reading, etc. It is possible to be gifted appropriately but preach poorly. So we should seek to develop our skills in preaching, but there is still more to it. It is possible to have appropriate skills (perhaps from a secular work environment like teaching), but not be an effective preacher. Why? Maybe lack of spiritual gifting, or maybe . . .
Maybe there’s more to take into account. In part 2 we will consider two more elements of the preaching equation.