I believe in being a good steward of the privilege of preaching. It is a privilege to have opportunity to preach. And it is a privilege to do the best you can. I believe in being trained to handle the Bible and well trained in homiletics. I believe in continuing to study hermeneutics and homiletics, not to mention contemporary culture, your listeners, and other related fields. It is good to hone your technique using feedback, perhaps watching yourself on video and so on. It is appropriate to put effort into effective communication skills. All this and so much more, it’s all about being a good steward of your ministry opportunity.
But preaching takes more than that. Preaching to change lives goes beyond technique and skill. There is also the entirety of your life – what you stand for, give yourself to, how you walk the walk and not just talk the talk. But preaching takes more than that.
Ultimately preaching to change lives has a dimension that goes beyond any skill or technique, beyond anything to do with you. Ultimately there is a divine dimension that cannot be forced. No preparation on our part, or specifically phrased prayer, can twist God’s arm to do what only He can do. Nothing on our part is the key to God’s involvement in today’s sermon. Just as the prophet Joel could only point to character of God in the hope that repentant Judah would be delivered (see Joel 2:12-17), just like our salvation springs from the gracious, compassionate, abounding love of God’s character, so the ultimate and most critical element in our preaching His Word springs purely from who He is, as He chooses.
Prepare well, pray fully. Perhaps He will move in His grace among your listeners today. Let’s be sure we are good stewards, but good stewards that lean fully on His grace alone.