This series is built on a simple thesis. Since preaching involves the communication of biblical truth through the personality of the preacher, it is best if that personality reflect the reality of the fruit of the Spirit. We’ve considered joy and peace, let’s push further into the list:
Patience – Biblical preaching requires patience. Yet we live in a culture that thrives on hastiness. The instantaneous nature of social media, for example, leads to some very disappointing tirades from people who would claim to be representing Jesus. Solzhenitsyn told Harvard graduates that hastiness is a “psychic disease” of our era. And lest we just cast stones at the culture around, how easily we get drawn into the same. We want to see results and we want them now. But you don’t grow an Oak in a few weeks, Balsa perhaps, but not Oak.
So we must beware of shortcuts. We may be tempted to manipulate response and enforce compliance. But this is not a Holy Spirit characteristic in our ministry. Biblical preaching will yield moments of radical transformation, but these will come in the context of a very steady drip feeding process. Let the Word shape people and shape a church, and before too long, the evidence will be there. How long? Probably a little longer than most of us would prefer.
We also need patience with individuals. Just as a parent learns that children don’t get things first time, so we need to re-preach truth to the same people over time. They, like us, will fail and fall short. Thank God that His patience is so great toward us.
Kindness – Let’s start at a very basic level. Public kindness begins at the level of civility. Sadly we have to start there because there are not a few preachers who haven’t yet reached this level. Building on basic civility, consider how your preaching is an act of kindness toward your listeners. Do you have a giving heart in your preaching, or a grabbing one? Are you all about serving them, communicating with them, connecting with them? Or are you about impressing them, making them see you a certain way, etc.?
Kindness will show in choice of vocabulary, attitude and manner, etc. As with each of these, we can fake it, but why would we need to? Kindness should be a growing characteristic both in and out of the pulpit, in our attitude, in our action, and in our speech.