Posts Tagged ‘preacher’

Briefly the other morning I began to contemplate what makes a preacher effective. Considering that I preach often, questions like these are great for me to ponder. I was shocked at the rapid fire responses that flooded my brain. I took a moment to organize my thoughts and quickly realized I had blog material on my hand. Being a fan of alliteration I wondered could I deduce these reasonings down to ideas with the same letter. Sure enough, I could. So, I did and here they are.

1. Understand your Assignment

Every preacher must understand their assignment. This first requires a close relationship with the assigner. We must always remember we are the messenger, but God is the owner of the message. He also has predetermined how it should be delivered, to whom it will be delivered to, and why. Before you preach, know what the Master desires and determine yourself to not get in the way (which is easier said then done). Ask yourself this question what is the end goal God is after with this particular message. Knowing that is half the battle. Once you know what God is speaking to His people; then and only then should you add yourself to the equation.  Because if you’re not careful speak your opinions, and ultimately elevate your agenda above God’s purpose.

2. Understand your Audience

Every preacher must understand their audience. To whom am I delivering this message. How might they best receive this message. Are they quiet listeners, who might be offended by shouting? Or, are they listeners who take great joy in being shouted at? Whatever you do; discern your audience. Do a group of teens really want to hear pages of notes on Greek and Hebrew words. Or can I take the truth of those words and hide it in a story that’s relatable to teens. You don’t need detailed research for this. Just a few observations are all you need. Remember the two most important people are your Assigner (God) and your Audience. You barely factor into the equation. God knows your audience He will show you just what you need to know about them if you will take the time to ask Him first.

3. Understand your Atmosphere

Every preacher must understand their atmosphere. Now here I don’t just mean your physical surroundings. You do need an awareness of that, but I want to focus on spiritual atmosphere. What is the spiritual climate you are in. Is it conducive for ministry. Does it need to be shifted. In Biblical times sometimes the prophet would not prophesy without the minstrel. The musician was called to help the atmosphere get right. You have to not only discern the audience, but you have to be able to discern an atmosphere. Here are a few things that change atmospheres. Prayer, Praise, Worship, Music, and Decrees. Let me briefly touch on the last one, decrees. On Sunday morning I decree “This is my Bible, I am what it says I am…Today I will be taught the word of God. I boldly confess my mind is alert…” my audience repeats after me. It shifts the atmosphere from spectating to participating which aids my audience in their learning.

4. Understand your Argument

Every preacher must understand their argument. What is it that you are talking about. Yes you heard from God but are you delivering it in a way that makes sense. Is it succinct. Look at the angles. Play the advocate. Question what you are saying. Research it. Expose the holes in what you are saying, and rework them until the holes aren’t there. Sure someone will still disagree with you, but you want it to be because they simply refuse to believe and not because you were woefully inaccurate. It’s very difficult to be persuasive in what you are not convinced of yourself. You can’t wait until you’re in the pulpit, behind the podium. As a rule of thumb, don’t study to preach; study to live, and then preach what you live.

5. Understand your Anointing

Every preacher must understand their anointing. Another way I can say this is stay in your lane. The anointing of God is the approval of God but also the equipping of God. The mechanic doesn’t barge his way into the operating room because he’s not equipped for that. Likewise the surgeon doesn’t bust into the auto shop because he’s equipped to perform surgeries. Sure you can wear more than one hat, but only wear hats that fit. Don’t try to be a singing preacher if you aren’t anointed to sing. Don’t try to close out a message “hooping” to an organ if you aren’t anointed for that. When we do those things what we are saying to God is “what You equipped me with is not enough”. It’s ok to admire what someone else does, but don’t copy what you aren’t anointed for. It does everyone a disservice, and you will suffer immensely because of it. Many God raised up to have a voice, but they became a mere echo trying to be like somebody else.

6. Understand your need to Adapt

Every preacher must understand their need to adapt. What I mean here is outside influences. Don’t forget we have an enemy and distraction is one of his main weapons while ministry is going forth. Don’t be so rigid. Learn how to adapt. Mics will malfunction. Babies will scream. People will walk at odd times. Cell phones will ring. Don’t lose your focus, adapt. Even laugh about the situation. Never let the devil see you sweat. Never lose your ultimate focus. You know your assignment, your audience, and your argument; you are an unstoppable force in this moment in time. Stay the course, adapt, and finish strong.

7. Understand your need to Adjust

Every preacher must understand their need to adjust. I know this sounds like what we just covered. However with adapt I meant outside influences, but with adjust I mean inside influences. I’ve spoken about our assigner, God The Father. Yet, let me speak of The Holy Spirit inside of us. Don’t become so focused that you neglect the inward Witness inside of you. Don’t be so confined to your notes that you must say them verbatim and leave no room for the Spirit inside of you to speak. Adjust to what you feel inside.  Some of this worlds greatest messages were birthed in the moment where the preacher dared to adjust to what was pounding in their heart and overrode their head to declare what Thus says The Lord. Please don’t misunderstand this to mean being unprepared or under prepared. It’s time out for all of this winging it in the pulpit. Yet there is a power inside of all of us that should have free course to take over knowing that ultimately we will adjust and yield ourselves to this power from within.

8. Understand your Appearance matters

Every preacher must understand that people see you long before they hear you. How you look, how you dress, and how you present yourself all matters. Indeed the Bible says “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart” but you aren’t talking to God you are talking to humans. As the scripture forewarns; humans judge the outside. There’s a statistic floating around that human beings make judgments about each other in the first 3 seconds of meeting. Often before you ever take the stage you are judged. If you look unkempt someone can assume your message is unkempt as well.  The same goes if you look disheveled.  Sure you can win them over with content, but its better to show up looking the part. If need be, ask ahead about dress code. Few things are more awkward than being either overdressed or under dressed. Appropriate dressing includes both appropriate sizes and modesty; especially for female ministers . Use the power of a mirror to your advantage. Use advice from television, magazines, and others around you to avoid fashion faux pas. You never want to be a visible distraction to you hearers. Lastly remember that you are speaking for God, so your attire and overall appearance should reflect that.