The Personality of the Preacher 2

Continuing my unstructured thoughts on the influence of personality on preaching:

2. The Mechanical Preacher – This person cares about how things work.  Practical in skills.  Practical in life.  They esteem the uncomplicated things in life, yet achieve the complex from the perspective of others.  The end can justify the means, as long as a practical solution is found.  I imagine this type of person will preach with a good level of applied practicality.  Here is a solution to the challenge, go implement it.  People appreciate being given the steps to obedience, rather than just the expected behaviour.

However, there will be a limitation here.  People are not machines.  It is so easy to preach as if they are.  When you face this, do this, think this, remember that and then you will do well.  Actually life isn’t lived out in logical and practical steps.  There is a profound complexity to the motivational life of any person.  There is a responsive interconnectedness between individuals in relationship with God and others.  Practical preachers are a blessing to the church, but especially if they don’t treat people as simple machines.

3. The Nurturing Preacher – This person is kind and caring.  Sensitive to others and willing to give themselves away for those they love.  I imagine that this type of personality gets people quicker than others, although that quickness may come from lots of time caring, listening and praying.  Such tender sensitivity is a blessing to those loved.  We can all learn from the ways warm and caring people communicate warmth and care (but not to perform, we need to develop that inner reality).

Those who read others well need to be sure to read the text carefully, and to preach it honestly.  There is a danger that a high concern for others can bias the reading of the text, so that messages of help can be sought, rather than the message of the text.  And then when the text is understood, we all need to have the courage to preach that appropriately to our people.  Sometimes a fear of hurting feelings can undermine caring biblical ministry.  Care for people, and care enough to invest God’s Word in the life of the church.  Perhaps there should be another category of The Conflict Avoiding Preacher . . . but then I’d be repeating this paragraph!

4. The Creative Preacher – Developed aesthetic sensitivity, an eye for beauty, an energy for the new and the striking.  I suppose this personality feature will also offer benefits and dangers.  New and creative ways of communicating the Word can offer memorable and effective presentations.  It can also offer error.  Others do too, but there is something risky about the new in terms of the ministry.  Be careful to use the energy for creativity (a godly characteristic) in a way that represents Him and His Word well.

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