May 19, 2012

The Self-Induced Pressures of Preaching

“Many preachers are tired; they are worn out from the pressure of trying to be interesting and trying to be God for the people. In the past, people might have been willing to grant the preacher that privilege, but no more. People know us better than that. Too many of us have failed, and few people are willing to give us the benefit of the doubt. It is hard to stand in the pulpit and claim to speak for God—especially when our stomach sticks out over our belt and our breath smells funny and our breakfast is stuck between our teeth. It is difficult to speak for God when we are so obviously flawed. Just trying will wear a person out.

“We can find courage in the knowledge that preaching doesn’t depend on the preacher’s cleverness. Our task is simply to help people hear from God. Once the preacher understands that God has already promised to make himself known in his Word, the pressure lifts. Surprisingly, we then find ourselves motivated to deeper and more faithful engagement with the text.”

Kenton C. Anderson, Choosing to Preach (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 40.

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