Never a fan of amateurishness in anything related to church ministry, I think we have to be amateur when it comes to preaching. What am I saying? Simple – if preaching is not done for the right love, it will be done for the wrong love, but love will drive our preaching.
Love for me is never good. That is to say, preaching for the love of position, love of status, love of kudos, love of attention, love of affirmation, love of power, love of paycheck, love of significance, etc…all of this is sanctified incurvedness – which is not sanctified at all, it is sin.
Love for God is the right kind of love. We love because He first loved us. Our preaching should spring from the response of our hearts and lives to God. Our love for Him should stir us to give of our best in order to please Him. What the pulpit desperately needs is not skilled orators, no matter how great the content. What it needs is true divines – those who know God personally, closely, intimately.
Love for listeners is entirely appropriate. We become like whoever we love and worship. So our love for Him should result in an increasing sharing of His values, including a love for the listeners. That love should drive us not only to study His Word, but to seek to offer it to others for their good. And we will do so not in a cold and detached professionalism, but in a warm-hearted, God-representing loving approach to ministry.
Love for the Word of God surely fits. Just to reinforce what has already been said, let us never study the Word out of a requirement to prepare a message, but with hearts stirred to hear God there. Hearing our God who has spoken and speaks in His Word is not some ministerial pragmatic issue – it is at the very centre of who He is and what we are called to. We are made in the image of a communicating-relational God. So we should passionately pursue His Word, inscribed and incarnate, for our hearts should long to know God.
And if that is what is meant by amateur – love-driven preaching… then I want to be an amateur for as long as I live!
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