One of the disciplines I’ve committed myself to doing regularly is reading books on preaching. Why? Frankly, I want to become a better preacher. I want to familiarize myself with biblical truth regarding preaching and by God’s grace, see these take root in my preaching. Ultimately, I want to steward the riches of God’s Word faithfully and in so doing make much of Jesus. That being said, almost without exception every time I rise to walk to the pulpit I pray, “Jesus, it’s about your Kingdom not mine.”
One way I’m working on becoming a better preacher is by reading books on preaching by men I respect. Timothy Keller is probably at the top of the list for a lot of people. A friend of mine (Tony Valenti) and I just read Keller’s book and the next several blog posts are going to be take-aways I wanted to pass on to encourage and challenge fellow preachers.
Keller writes that the “Christian minister has three basic roles or functions: preaching, pastoring/counseling, and leading. No one is equally gifted in all three areas, and yet we must do them all. The greatest factor in the long-term effectiveness of a Christian minister is how (or whether) the gift-deficient areas in his skill are mitigated by the strong grace operations in his character” (196).
He expounds upon this with several simple, yet profound statements that encouraged my soul and caused me to do some self-evaluation.
You may not have strong public-speaking gifts, but if you are godly, your wisdom and love and courage will make you an interesting preacher. You may not have strong pastoral or counseling gifts (e.g., you may be very shy or introverted), but if you are godly, your wisdom and love and courage will enable you to comfort and guide people. You may not have strong leadership gifts (e.g., you may be disorganized or cautious by nature), but if you are godly, your wisdom and love and courage will mean that people will respect and follow you.
His words beg the question: are you godly? If so, your godliness will influence every area of your life and every role you’re called to live out.