Preaching begins in the study, then after the time with God in His Word, we stop and pray. Having spent that time getting His heartbeat for these particular people, then we head to Starbucks (or wherever you like to work with people in your sights), in order to prepare a message that will effectively communicate to these people. Then there’s one more place to add to the sequence, it’s the place where we . . .
Place 4 – Stand and Deliver (The Pulpit)
All eyes on you, nowhere to hide, now its time to deliver the message. I know that it sounds spiritual to downplay delivery. It sounds profoundly humble to pray that people won’t see you. But they will. Its part of God’s design, He likes to use the weak things to achieve His goals. He has this pattern of incarnational ministry down through the years. So to downplay delivery might well be to sabotage the situation.
God does use the weak, but He also delights in good communication. Its part of who He is. We have a communicating God. A God who delights to reveal Himself in His Word, and who sends His Spirit to work in the communication of human to human, as well as heart to heart connection between Him and us. It may be a hideous thing to perform that which is not real, but it is profoundly Christian to communicate as effectively as we can in reliance upon Him.
The goal? To prayerfully deliver a biblical, clear, engaging and relevant message so as to offer Christ to the lost, to build up His church and to please our Lord.
If we fail to give prayerful consideration to the moment of delivery then we may be biblical, clear and relevant in content, but we will drop the ball on clarity in delivery. And you can probably say goodbye to the goal of being engaging. To present God’s Word in a dull or unenthused manner is to say something about God and His Word that does not bear saying.
So prayerfully consider how your delivery reinforces or undermines your ministry. Consider the interpersonal connectivity of eye contact, of expression, of gesture, of posture. Consider the representation of God’s character by demeanor, expression, energy and warmth.
Four places. Study, prayer closet, Starbucks and pulpit. Private, more private, public, more public. Its quite a journey, and for many it is a weekly journey. It can feel like an adventure. It can be tiring. It may feel like a lonely path. But we never travel alone. He is with us, to the end of the age.