By Wes McAdams
Preaching is the proclamation and explanation of God’s word. Both the Old and New Testaments are full of men who stood before God’s people and explained, “This is what God says, this is what it means, and this is how it applies to us today.”
The church needs to hear the proclamation and explanation of God’s word. We need to hear what it says, what it means, and how it applies to our lives today. When God’s word is proclaimed and explained:
- it brings glory to God.
- it unites God’s people of the present with His people of the past.
- it makes us into a knowledgeable and disciplined community, by encouraging us to stretch our attention spans and develop an ability to hear the word of the Lord.
How We Turn Preaching Into a Competitive Performance
With singing, we often misplace our focus. We focus on the tune and the tempo, when the focus should be on the words of praise. With preaching, we focus on the preacher’s style and delivery, when the focus should be on accurately proclaiming and explaining the word of God.
But think about it, when we sit in the pew and make the sermon about the preacher’s performance – rather than our own walk with Jesus – it takes the pressure off us and puts it on the preacher.
When we have the luxury of sitting and measuring the length and style of the sermon, comparing it with other sermons we’ve heard, our job in the pew is easy. It’s much more difficult for us to accept our God-given responsibility to look beyond the flaws, shortcomings, and human limitations of the preacher in order to discern and apply God’s holy word to our lives.
Pride, Ego, and Self-Esteem
It’s easy to see the harm we do to those we criticize. It’s easy to see how it hurts a preacher’s feelings when we criticize his style; but we might actually be doing more harm to those on whom we constantly brag. When we constantly brag on a preacher’s style and performance, we might very well be stroking his ego.
How To Encourage a Preacher
So how can we show appreciation to our preachers, without being stumbling blocks? Here are a few of my favorite kinds of encouragement:
- “That message really made me think. I’m going to have to go home and study some more.”
- “I’m convicted. I’m going to make some big changes in my life.”
- “God’s word is so powerful.”
- “Thank you for telling us the truth.”