One of my favorite things to do in my job is preaching. I look forward to spending time brainstorming how to creatively talk about an idea that our students need to hear. I get fired up when we have a room full of kids that I get to open God’s word with. Martin Luther has an incredible quote that I want to use as a jumping point for 3 thoughts on preaching. In reference to preaching, Luther said, “Stand up, speak up, and shut up.”
The best way to improve the craft of preaching is to do it often. One of the great things about youth ministry is it is common to preach at least once a week and often even more than that. The best way to learn a skill, especially public speaking, is to do it often. In any sport, it’s common to spend countless hours getting in reps to improve at your position. If you are teaching the Bible or have a desire to teach the Bible, are you getting in your reps?
Often the scriptures speak of things that make people uncomfortable. People to wake up in the morning thinking about their desire to be told how terrible of a person they are. Nobody looks forward to feeling guilty about the poor they overlooked this past week. People don’t like to be called out on their sin. But the role of the preacher is not to tell people what they want to hear but what they need to hear. When you study the scriptures, what needs to be taught? Teach it boldly.
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” – Timothy 4:3
When I first got started in youth ministry, one of my biggest concerns when preaching was having enough to say to speak for a whole 20 minutes. I look back now and can laugh at the idea of not having enough to say; I have a feeling people would be a lot happier if preachers didn’t have enough to stay instead of always having too much to say. Learning how to refine a message can be one of the most tedious tasks of putting together a message. Anybody can come up with things to talk about, but it takes work to figure out how to say one thing clearly and concisely. I find that more that I cut out of a sermon, the more effective what I leave in becomes.
“Creativity is substraction”. – Austin Kleon
Which is hardest for you: standing up, speaking up, or shutting up?