It is easy to fake pulpit passion. All you have to do is raise the voice, pound the fists, point the finger, grimace a little and before you know it, you have fake pulpit passion. But what does it take to have genuine passion? And why would you want it?
Why? Because genuine passion marks deeply. Genuine passion is contagious, people catch it. It is commanding, people aren’t easily distracted from it. It is convicting, people have hearts changed by it. It is challenging, people see their apathy wilt under it. Genuine passion marks people deeply. (Just in case you’re tempted to fake it, remember that fake passion is off-putting, embarrassing, ineffectual and counter-productive.)
How? Genuine passion is a spiritual dynamic. It all seems to come down to, and flow from, the heart. A heart captivated by a passionate God. A heart filled with the Word of God. A heart walking in step with, beating in time with, the Spirit of God. A heart moved with compassion for the people to whom it will preach. Gripped by God, saturated in the Word, filled with the Spirit, and crystal clear on the urgency of the task of preaching that particular text to those particular people at that particular time. A genuinely passionate preacher is truly a potent tool in God’s hands.
All this is not to say that relaxed or carefully casual delivery is wrong. I often use both and see others doing so effectively. But there is also a time for allowing the passion to show. May God give us the wisdom to know when.