Lone Ranger Preacher?

Apart from all the spiritual dangers inherent in journeying alone in ministry, there are implications for preaching too.  As preachers most of us naturally fall into a lone ranger approach to sermon preparation.  The time constraints in ministry, the tendencies of personal temperament (many preachers are introverts, it seems), and often the background of training and observed behavior all push us into a solo approach to sermon preparation.  While some things must be done on our own in prayerful solitude with the Lord, we should proactively engage with others too.  Alternative perspectives strengthen preaching on every level.

While it is still technically a solo exercise, take stock of your reading.  Do you read things from different perspectives, or always the same old familiar authors?  It is easy to become comfortable in reading and lose the glorious benefit of being stretched, challenged, provoked, and perhaps even incensed!

Take stock of your preparation process.  Do you actively engage with others as you prepare sermons?  I’m not saying any of us can do all of these every week, but here are some ideas.  Obviously your spouse, if you have one – the perspective of the opposite gender can really help.  Other preacher or preachers?  Perhaps in your church (perhaps ones you are mentoring or being mentored by), or perhaps in another church – time spent talking through two messages together will probably benefit both of you more than spending that half hour on your own message alone!  A feed-forward group?  That is a group of people brought together to specifically share input for forthcoming preaching – could be content, could be support material, could be giving you insight into how differently people think on an issue, etc.

Being a preacher may be a solitary calling in some ways, perhaps lonely at times, certainly a regular overt entry into spiritual warfare, but is that all?  Let us not forget that God has brought us into communion with His people as well as Him.  Let us not forget that we need others just as others need others.  And let’s remember that what is true of us in life and ministry is also true in preaching – let’s not be lone ranger preachers.  Let us rather strengthen ourselves and our preaching by exposure to greater perspective.

2 thoughts on “Lone Ranger Preacher?

  1. Your article is refreshing. Getting together with preachers not so much support on gathering materials for my preaching but more on widening my scope of different thoughts and opinions. Tks Bro!

  2. I just preached a sermon yesterday that was 2-3 weeks in the making, which gave me ample time to discuss it with friends and another minister.

    I have to say, if I always had time to dialogue with other people prior to preaching, my sermons would be much better.

    Thanks for this reminder and the encouragement to be more than a lone ranger

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