Yesterday I had the joy of leading a morning seminar that overviewed the preaching preparation process. I guided the participants through the 8-stage path that I advocate on this site and find so useful in my own ministry. But I think there is another way to look at the process – in effect a view from a greater height, a helicopter view of the preaching process. Dare I say that this might even reflect Jesus’ approach?
I would love to get the in-depth Jesus preaching seminar. Surely it would involve issues of speaking with authority unlike the scribes, and how to select compelling images, effective storytelling, memorable motifs, etc. But I want to suggest a slightly higher level, helicopter (or should I say more heavenly) view of the preaching process.
The gospels don’t give us the answer to how should we preach. But as well as His example, there is also the consistent pattern of Jesus’ theology. How should we pray? He answered with a variation on the theme of what is the greatest commandment? Since the pattern was so common in his teaching, allow me to speculate on an overview of the preaching preparation process from Jesus’ perspective. Jesus, how should we preach?
1. Love God. The first phase of the process is to be loving God by sitting at Christ’s feet. Stop being manic and busy for God, but instead sit at His feet and allow Him to minister to you. Don’t search the Scriptures and miss the person that is there, but seek the Lord in His Word and you will find Him. Treat the Bible as if God is a good communicator and so diligently study and wrestle with the text, allowing it to do a work in you before you even think about offering it to others. Love God in response to His self-revelation in His Word.
2. Love your neighbour (congregant, listener, audience, etc.). That is, pray for the people who you will speak to. Really spend time with God concerning them. Then as you start planning your message, plan it prayerfully with a deep concern for them to understand, to stay engaged, to be able to follow, to feel the import and impact of the message of the text. And as you preach it, preach with the winsomeness and grace of God permeating your demeanour, because God is passionately excited about incarnating His grace and truth!
I could be wrong, but I wonder if Jesus might give an answer along those lines.