What I do to relax after a hectic day of ministry and work is to watch cooking shows.
Please don’t ask me why. Let me say up front I don’t have any idea how to cook. This perhaps explains my interest in watching great chefs come up with mouth watering dishes and delicacies.
My passion is preaching, not that I do it well. I’m more a student than a teacher, much less a master, of it. I see similarities between the two.
Master Chefs divide cooking into two parts: the actual cooking of the food, and the presentation part, which if I’m not mistaken they term plating.
Delivering quality sermons always entails the same. There is the actual hard work of preparing the sermon and then the delivery of it.
Many potentially good sermons are ruined by one without the other.
Some have good content but poor delivery while others can ‘’preach’’, sadly it’s just that they don’t have anything worth saying.
When chefs cook, ingredients are key. They look for combinations that will bring out the best and most flavours in the food they’re cooking.
Same with sermons. Narratives don’t usually work well using a deductive style. With stories, the inductive approach suits best.
In preaching the epistles or laws, the ingredient that often works best is to find the usually hidden ‘’burden’’ in the passage-asking yourself ‘’why is this passage important?’’
Or look for the hidden “tension” – “what is it about this passage that’s either hard to believe or hard to apply?”
Solid exegesis; Asking questions ; Knowing the congregation; Imagination ; Creativity; Prayer, loads of it, are the key ingredients to a Spirit-filled, Christ-centered, life-transforming message.
There are neither secrets nor shortcuts to a great sermon.
It takes blood, sweat, and tears, sometimes literally.
Then there’s the plating part.
Many preachers don’t bother to work on their delivery, much to the pain and loss of their hearers.
The key to powerful preaching is not ‘’what you say’’ but ‘’how you say it.’’
Some preachers laugh at their own jokes; others gesture unnaturally or distractedly; others speak with a monotone; others equate preaching with shouting; while others simply ‘’say what’s on their mind and heart’’, wrongly thinking great preaching is simply preaching from the heart.
You can be sincere yet still end up sincerely boring.
The goal of preaching is not to entertain, but neither it is to bore people and sometimes forcing them to transfer to other churches or worse, abandon the faith altogether.
Fellow preachers, our people are hungry. God has given us the privilege to feed His sheep with nutritious, life giving, life changing food.
Let us neither be lazy nor sloppy in cooking and plating God’s eternal bread of life.
Nothing less than the souls of people are at stake.
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