When you preach, what adjectives best describe your manner, tone and style? Perhaps you tend to preach in a relaxed manner, or intense, or aggressive, or rushed, or tense, or lighthearted, or calm, or nervous. Some adjectives are probably to be preferred over others – is there really a place for a preacher to come across as silly, or nervous, or rude, probably not. But here are a couple of adjectival questions to ponder:
1. Would the adjective vary from sermon to sermon? People drawn to your humour, or passion, or aggression, or confidence, or hesitancy, or gentleness, or whatever, may find that same aspect of your preaching to be off-putting eventually if every sermon experience is the same. Consider whether your preaching is overly influenced by your personal style, rather than responding to the text, the audience and the situation as it should in good communication.
2. Would a different adjective describe the same feature from another listener’s perspective? While one person may find your preaching engaging and humourous, another might offer the descriptive couplet of offensive and trivial. Be careful not to fool yourself into thinking your style is pleasing to all, appropriate in every situation and thoroughly effective. Gentle and calm? Or tedious and soporific? Passionate? Or rude? Orderly? Or monotonous and predictable? This should keep us on our toes, and on our knees, if that be possible (since prayer should saturate our delivery and reception of the message as well as the content of the message).
How would you describe your preaching? How would your listeners? When did you last ask one or two? Were they free to answer honestly?