Yesterday we talked about passion that can become off-putting. But what about the preachers that are devoid of all passion, preaching sermons as limp as soggy cardboard? If you know one, I’ll leave you to figure out how to get them to read this post. If you know you are one, perhaps this will help.
1. Hear what people are saying, and hear what you are saying. If people are saying your preaching is dull, you need to hear that feedback. Don’t blame them. Don’t ignore them. Hear them. Equally, if you will just listen to yourself, or watch yourself on video, you will see just how bland the sermon presentation actually is. You may say, “Oh no, I am much more passionate than I come across!” Ok, but you don’t come across as passionate, so it is actually irrelevant how passionate you may be on the inside.
2. Is it frozen delivery? It is common for speakers to freeze when presenting to a crowd of people. What feels so fiery on the inside comes out as a restricted vocal range, monotonous tone, limited gestures, solidified facial expression and the natural movement of a broken robot with fading batteries. It may simply be that you need to grow in the area of delivery: not learning to be someone else, but learning to be yourself freely in front of the folks.
3. Is it personal fatigue? Maybe you are preparing half of Saturday night and then skipping breakfast and preaching on empty. Sometimes emergencies occur and we have no choice but to preach on an empty tank. But generally speaking, it isn’t a good idea, or good stewardship of your ministry, to eat poorly, sleep inadequately, exercise rarely and preach in a state of physical breakdown.
4. Is it a loss of vision? Ministry can take its toll. Well-intentioned dragons can sap energy like nothing else, repetition of services with minimal response and maximum negativity from some, overloaded ministry schedule because you are the only person active in ministry in the church, etc. Before long you are struggling to preach with any vision other than getting it done for another week. Not good.
5. Is it eyes unfixed and heart gone cold? Here’s the big one, whether it is true or not. Preaching without passion comes across as if what you are preaching about isn’t really that important. Unbelievers will be put off the gospel and believers will be discouraged. The greatest solution to the greatest problem in passionless preaching is to get your eyes fixed back on Christ and allow the sunshine of God’s grace to bring your heart back to the boil. When we taste and see that the Lord is good, it becomes much harder to preach without passion.