You don’t have to yell when you preach, but you can increase intensity…
What? Increase intensity but not yelling? What are you talking about?
OK, sit down for a moment and let’s talk…
Someone said once when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem you have looks like a nail.
Some folks only have one way of increasing intensity in their sermons. And they just yell…
When I was growing up, I had the opportunity to play the trumpet. I was no expert, but I did play in a number of churches over the years. I studied privately with a number of trumpet teachers. Many of these teachers recommended that I practice at least an hour every day. In addition, I was to spend some time in composition and music theory.
That requirement is largely why I am not a good trumpet player today. But I digress…I do want to ask a question, How did I spend this practice time and how does this relate to preaching? And even more than preaching, living the Christian life.
On the cross Jesus uttered a fascinating sentence. We find it in Matthew 27:45-46, Jesus said “My God, My God, Why has thou forsaken me?”
If you have been in the church for even a short time you have heard this quoted. Perhaps you have even heard sermons on the subject, but have you thought about that text and what it means about Jesus and what it means for us who find ourselves attempting to preach on this weekend?
Here is Jesus, who the Father calls God in Hebrews 1:8. That Jesus who is fully God is also fully connected to humanity. A connection so strong that he yelled out the cry that we also find in Psalms 22. A connection so strong that he could feel forsakenness.
Teresa Fry Brown hits on another important topic as she presents Charles Adams’ 9 suggestions to preachers found on page 164 and 165 of her book Weary Throats and New Songs. This one has to do with re-using sermons.
The book argues that we should not repeat a sermon unless we “filter” it. I have heard homiletics instructors argue over this topic. One of my homiletics teachers stated that you should never re-use a sermon. In this instructors mind, the sermon is so tied to circumstances and situations that it can not legitimately be used again in another circumstance and situation. Certainly there is some truth here. The vast majority of sermons are so closely tied to this situation that it cannot be used again verbatim.
A while ago, Peter Mead ran a series on his helpful website on the subject of “Preaching Epistles.” People ask me to bring different perspectives, so here is one that I read from time to time.
At any rate, one of his points for preaching epistles effectively is:
11. Preach, don’t commentate – Don’t offer your listeners either a running commentary or a labelled outline of the text. Make your points relevant to today, put them in today language, then show that from the “back then” as you explain the text. Don’t preach “back then” and then offer token relevance once people are disconnected and distracted.