For Young Preachers and Sunday School Teachers

I recently read some suggestions a somewhat experieced preacher wrote to a young preacher about preaching.  His thoughts are worth considering… not only for young preachers, but also for those who teach Sunday School.  Here what he wrote…

First… as far as “being as good as,” you have the Holy Spirit in you!  “Not by might, nor by power… but by My Spirit says the Lord” (Zech 4:6).

Now a few thoughts after listening to the sermon you sent me:

1.    The more you seek God… pray… and reflect upon Scripture, HE will work into your heart and life His Word for His people.

2.    When you study… study to discern God’s Truth in the passage.  Don’t try to “get up a sermon,” rather seek the message He has for all time and preach that.

3.    There is a direct link between the amount of time you spend in prayer and God’s word being proclaimed faithfully.

4.    The “effectiveness” of a message is in God’s hands… not yours.  You be faithful to deliver the truth He has revealed to you and leave the outcome in His hands.

5.    From 1 Cor 13:1-3, you must deliver God’s truth because of your LOVE for Him ANDthose you are speaking to.

6.    In your mind’s eye, think of Jesus sitting in the audience.  You want Him to reply… “YES!  You said what I wanted you to say & you said it properly.  Well done!!”

7.    As you write the message after studying a passage… stay in an attitude of prayer… “God help me see, write, and deliver faithfully what YOU have for Your people.”

8.    As for minor tweaks:

a.    Over time you’ll become more comfortable in delivery… don’t fret that now.

b.    Over time you’ll find your own style of delivery… just be yourself.

c.    Over time you’re reading of the Scripture will become more nuanced (Reading Scripture publicly for emphasis is an art).

d.    Watch your video as if you were a person in the audience.  Critique YOURSELF.

e.    When you do your own critique… be hard!  Did I move too much… at the wrong time… did I do anything that distracted from the message… did my transitions make sense… did the Scripture I use really support the point… did I use enough supporting Scripture or too much… did I get across THE meaning of THE text I began with?

Again… I am proud of and for you!  I am confident that God has His hand upon you and your life.  THEREFORE…

1 Tim 4:16 (ESV), Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Tim 4:16 (NASU) Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

1 Tim 4:16 (NIV) Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. NIV

1 Tim 4:16 (NLT) Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.

1 Tim 4:16 (Personal paraphrase) Be careful how you live and that what you teach is in keeping with the Gospel.  Be faithful in both of these because your salvation and those who hear you are at stake.

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