I recently had the privilege of hearing 12 student sermons for the final grade in two sections of Advanced Homiletics at Lancaster Bible College/Capital Seminary and Graduate School.
Haddon Robinson once said that he heard so many bad sermons it’s a wonder he was still a Christian. Yikes!
One preaching deficiency I see each year and experience myself many weekends if I’m preaching any other genre other than NT epistles is getting caught in lecture mode. Preaching through Judges has been especially challenging in this respect.
Lecture mode is when I am talking to congregants about the Bible. I am not talking to them about them; I’m talking to them about the Bible. I’m giving them all kinds of good information about the particular preaching portion. But I’m not talking to them.
A huge part of expository preaching is relaying God’s message to the Church. Theological exegesis involves discovering how God’s Word in a particular preaching portion functions for the Church. So, preaching is not primarily me talking to my parishioners about the Bible. It’s about me talking to them about them from the Bible. God’s Word is addressing us.
I’m currently reading Green’s, Practicing Theological Interpretation.
Using the epistle of James as an example, Green asks, “Who is the ‘you’ to whom James addresses his letter? Are we willing to be that ‘you’?” (p. 15).
Are you willing to address your congregants the way that your preaching portion is addressing them? If you are, that means minute-by-minute you will be talking to them about them from the Bible.
Before Sunday, look at your notes. Do you read yourself talking to them about the Bible or about them from the Bible? Are you preaching or lecturing?
Preach well so God receives glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).