Find the right role model (Preaching again)

Nothing can make a good preacher worse than trying to follow the style of a great preacher.

That’s an exaggeration. There are probably many things that can make one worse.

But my point is simple: you can’t just imitate anyone and expect the results to be the same as those of the person your imitating.  People have different voices and different personalities that come across in the pulpit.  It isn’t merely their sermon style that attracts people but how this is perceived as an extension of a person’s character.

So, if you want a role model for preaching, you need to find someone who fits who you are.

A word about seminaries: No school can afford to have many professors of homiletics.  Typically there will be one gifted preacher there.  Some students will gravitate toward him and his style and gain a reputation as great preachers.  Whether you are one of those people is mostly outside your control.  You simply may not fit the professor’s personality and style.

Don’t worry about it.  Just learn what you can, remain on friendly terms with everyone, and wait for the next stage in life.  Doing two or more messages a week is an entirely different world than the two or three sermons you have to do in a semester of a homiletics class.  Pretty much everything you think you know gets tossed out the window; you have to go pick up the pieces and arrange them so they fit into you new and very non-seminary life.

One thought on “Find the right role model (Preaching again)

  1. pentamom

    A couple of questions from a laywoman:

    In my rather limited experience, it seems pastors frequently start out their preaching careers by thinking of preaching as transmitting all the cool exegetical and theological insights they learned in seminary to their untaught congregations. Being one who views preaching as more properly being exhortation to God’s people to the ongoing practice of repenting, believing the gospel day by day, and walking in newness of life, with theological/exegetical insights being the substructure but not the focus, I see this as something to be “gotten over,” and in my experience, so do most pastors with a couple of decades of pastoring under their belts.

    So my questions are: is this as common as I perceive it to be? And, if so, is there a way to change the focus so that young ministers coming out of seminary adopt a more “preacherly” view of preaching from the beginning?


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