Monday, May 20, 2013

Athletic Preaching

What does it take to win in a sport?
I want to propose 3 things
1. General fitness
2. Specific skills
3. A game plan

What about winning preaching? I suspect that much of our preparation to preach is like category 3. A plan for the game day. Sunday looms, and we must find something to say.
I suspect the best preachers, however, are putting more time into 1. and 2.

1. General fitness. Though sometimes poo-pooed as unspiritual and worldly, effective preachers need some general, non-specific skills.
Can I speak loud enough for people to hear?
Can I speak clearly enough for people to understand?
Can I read a complex text and understand it?
Do I have at least some grasp of logic, literature, poetry, philosophy?
How are my interpersonal skills and empathy?
Some exercise in these areas (outside of sermons) will lift your preaching game. And deficiency in any one of them will severely limit your 'game plan'

2. Specific skills
I would want to throw into this one general bible knowledge, wide and deep theological reading, growth in language proficiency, consistent wrestling in prayer, rigorous theological and ethical reflection, humility, confession, grace.

Pushing yourself with these 'skills' will make you a better player, week in, week out. Rehearsing these skills (outside of sermon preparation) will mean that difficult manoeuvres and plays will become second nature on game day.

Of course, both general fitness and special skills aren't enough to win a tough game.
And both general fitness and skills can be built by playing a lot of games.
That is generally how ametuers play social games.
Is that how you would like people to view your preaching?
As something you do to entertain yourself?

1 comment:

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