palm sunday

Preachers, Polish and Passion

images-15How do you like your preaching? If you are a pastor, how do you communicate the Word of God on a weekly basis? Does your style even matter? Consider how polish and passion can compliment one another…

Some preachers are full of passion from start to finish. You may not be able to decipher three main points (or even one), but they have our attention. They are master story-tellers and can leave people laughing and crying within moments of each other.

Other preachers deliver their message with a prepared sense of control and clarity of content. They could give a “Ted Talk” with the best of them. There seems to have been a real shift away from “fire and brimstone” towards this style in the past decade or more.

Most of us fall decidedly on one side or the other. And, why not? It’s easier at an extreme. However, finding a balance between the two takes a little more effort.

In defense of passion. God created us emotional beings. If you aren’t “feeling it,” then neither will anyone else. Authentic emotion communicates an attractive and humble vulnerability. Those listening may need more time to discern and process your content, but they will have no trouble believing you believe it, and that will go a long way towards them believing it, too. I would suggest that if you are so “professional” that you have never left the platform feeling like you were a little too emotional, then perhaps there is some pride that needs dealt with? 

In defense of polish. Let’s face it, you just can’t get past some preacher’s delivery. Their style is either like watching paint dry or an irate baseball manager after a blown call at home plate. Being polished is really about being prepared. Rehearse your message. Be so prepared that when the time comes, you can preach with passion and not lose the point, or the audience, or both. If we truly believe the message and Messenger of the Gospel is the only saving grace for human kind, then it is worth any effort to deliver it in a well-prepared package.

Go with your strength. In other words, be you. After recognizing and working enough on the weakness in your preaching, focus on your strength. Learn to leverage your passion in a way that peaks at the right time. Do this in order to motivate your audience to leave inspired to live the Good News you are sharing. Learn to leverage your polish in a way that informs not only the head, but also the heart. Interestingly enough, history is full of pulpiteers who have preached at both extremes. Nevertheless, the Spirit of God has used both powerfully to do what He wanted done in the moment.

In the end I think most people would rather be moved than impressed. (I heard that one on “The Voice” while writing this…) However, nothing moves people to life change like the pure Word of God. Make sure your style doesn’t distract from nor overshadow the essential substance of the message that alone can save.

How do you deliver your message? What would you suggest to others concerning passion and polish? Leave your advice in the Reply section below!