Preaching is a complex art. It requires the weaving together of exegetical skill, theological awareness, congregational insight, clarity of thought, structuring of material for the ear, etc. And yet even though the list of necessary skills can seem endless, preaching takes more than technical skill. There is also the need for listeners to feel connection, to both feel and sense empathy. What is it that forges that connection between preacher and listener?
Over the next few posts I would like to offer small suggestions to generate big gains in this preacher-listener connection.
That there needs to be such a connection is lost on some who seem to assume their role is merely to inform, or to proclaim, or to pressure, or even to fill the time allocated for the preaching of a sermon. But I suspect there are many preachers who innately know that there should be something of a connection, but are not sure how to strengthen it.
So what dynamics work together for preacher-listener connection?
Here are the five dynamics that we will explore in the next few days :
1. There is the personal life of the preacher – this means looking at issues of authenticity and spiritual integrity.
2. There is the pastoral ministry of the preacher – is there an investment of loving prayer behind the scenes for those who will be listening, and is there interpersonal connection outside of the pulpit?
3. There is the content of the message – is it designed to engage the listener at the heart level? Is it marked by a contemporary focus and sense of purpose?
4. There is the presentational dynamic of sermon delivery – is the preacher communicating in the most effective way possible to achieve preacher-listener connection?
5. And there is the heart of the listener – is there a responsiveness to both the message and to the messenger?
Stay tuned for a series of suggestions to help build your preacher-listener connection. It is my hope that implementing some of these suggestions, combined with prayer, will lead you to a greater level of connection with your listeners in the coming weeks.