This week I have shared some candid thoughts from the perspective of the preacher. But I haven’t gone into the whole arena of confessing sin as a preacher. Here’s a reality that won’t rock anyone’s world: preachers sin.
Trouble is, preaching carries with it a certain pressure to live up to a false reputation. People seem to expect sinlessness and preachers find it easier to preach from that alien platform.
Having said that, listeners do respond well to honesty from the preacher. I suppose we should call it “appropriate vulnerability.” And there’s the challenge – some vulnerability is helpful, appropriate, even at times, powerful (though that might not be the best motivation to pursue it in your preaching!) Equally, some vulnerability undermines the preaching event, distracts the listeners and can inadvertently excuse sin for others.
How do we know the difference? I think this is an arena where we need real and vulnerable conversation as well as vulnerable preaching. We need to be in conversation with others about the reality of our walk with Christ and our struggles in this world. Listing a week’s worth of battles with materialism, internal anger attacks, lust struggles, relational tensions, lapses into laziness, etc., almost certainly won’t help your sermon on Sunday. But it would almost certainly help your walk with Christ to walk in the light with a trusted friend or two.
Perhaps it is in those genuine rather than superficial, grace-giving rather than condemning, and loving rather than competitive friendships that we can determine what level of confession is appropriate by way of vulnerability?
I have been looking at Uzziah and Hezekiah – two godly leaders that seemed to lose it at the heart level later on in life. Perhaps age is a factor worth pursuing in all this as well. Younger folks have their struggles. Older ones are not safe.
I suppose this is still not the deepest side of confession, but I won’t venture into the realm of ministry disqualifying issues today.
I hope this week of posts have been helpful in some way. Let’s be praying for each other as we step into the pulpit tomorrow and preach the Word – what a privilege!
Next Week: Technology and Sermon Preparation