(This part of a series I have called Preacher School based on a training regimen we ran over the summer at our local church.)
Interest Derives from Exegesis
It ought go without saying that preaching, of all things, should be interesting! A “boring sermon” is an oxymoron. There is essentially only one cause of dull preaching – you have not exegeted the text. Here is what I mean.
God is infinitely interesting. We will never, in three billion eternities, finish discovering new things about God or enjoying the things we already know about Him. That is why we can read the same Bible passage 50, 100 times in our life and find new things there – these words on the page are spoken by God! The Infinite has communicated about Himself through finite words in order to allow us to know Him. If you do the work of a good exegete, you will always, without exception, find something interesting to say because God is interesting. The text always funnels up and out to Him.
So, when I say that preaching must be interesting, I am thinking first of all of its content, not its presentation. The most fruitful garden had the most work in the early spring and hot summer. The best doctor is not the best-looking, best bedside-mannered one, but the most studied and skilled at his practice. The most interesting preachers will say more than what a plain reading of the text says; they will give clarity and colour to its meaning and application to its demands.
That is why a somewhat banal presentation can still be very interesting.
There Are No Trophies for Boring
That said, we ought to do all in our power to avoid banal presentations and I have a reason why. If these things we are learning are truly interesting (stimulating, remarkable, attractive, attention-grabbing, life-altering, value-shifting, etc.) then we must allow ourselves to present them in a manner that matches. You would think me an odd fan indeed if I mumbled, “I can hardly contain myself at the fact the Leafs just won their 14th Stanley Cup.” There is a manner of expression that ought to match that glorious announcement! And it is not quiet.
So, interesting preaching allows the tone and tenor and truth of the text to take over the presentation of its truth. This presentation will vary based on personality, culture, ethnicity, age, and a host of other factors, but the goal when preaching is to find “your voice” and let the truth come through.
“I am disturbed therefore when I am often told by members of churches that many of the younger Reformed men are very good men, who have no doubt read a great deal, and are very learned men, but they are very dull and boring preachers; and I am told this by people who themselves hold the Reformed position. This is to me a very serious matter; there is something radically wrong with dull and boring preachers. How can a man be dull when he is handling such themes? I would say that a ‘dull preacher’ is a contradiction in terms; if he is dull he is not a preacher. He may stand in a pulpit and talk, but he is certainly not a preacher. With the grand theme and message of the Bible dullness is impossible.” – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
How do you preach interesting sermons? You dig deep into God’s Word and find Him there. How do you do that? I hope to start and tell you next time.Tweet
Enjoying the series, but I disagree with one of your points here. The _best_ doctor is the one who is both skilled _and_ has a great bedside manner. The good doctors point notwithstanding, a great preacher will be able to bring to bear the excitement of the text, through his skill and studies, to the listener.