In 1 Samuel 13.19, we find out that when the Philistines conquered and enslaved Israel they took out all the blacksmiths so there was no one around who could make weapons so that people could fight and win and re-gain their freedom. Today, the church is in a similar position – very few preachers are actually equipping the church to fight, to beat sickness, to win against poverty, to conquer a poor self-image, to defeat discouragement and despair. Most Christians are still tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine because they have never been equipped to stand.
Now a lot of that can be the individual’s fault – people who don’t go to church, or who go once a month, they will never be in a position to be equipped, and that destructive doctrine that we can live the Christian life on our own without a local church is still doing the rounds sadly. But as a preacher, you can take steps to make sure that your preaching is equipping people to do the works of ministry.
1. Preach What You Know
You have a wealth of knowledge – sicknesses you have defeated, attitudes you have laid down. For the Word to be effective it has to become flesh – let people see how the Word has become flesh in your life. Share your victories, share your learning curve. Let people see that you are moving forward and growing in grace!
2. Make it practical
You have to preach the Word, but you also have to interpret the Word and apply the Word. So for example, you could preach on 1 Cor. 13 and preach that “Love is patient”. That’s the Word. Now tell people what it means: patient means steadfast under pressure, so when you love someone you put up with pressure and you are still the same. Then you apply it: so, in your marriage, don’t snap at your wife when she has a bad day, show love and be the same – be patient, be steadfast. Let your people know what the Word means and what it means for them.
3. Give Your Message A Title
The title clarifies the thought. Spurgeon said he would rather nail a 10 inch nail into someone, rather than throw a box of thumbtacks at them. That’s true – your message needs to be one clear point. Giving your message a title helps you focus on what you are saying.
4. Prepare, prepare, prepare
Don’t just expect to walk in the pulpit and share and be a success. Prepare: study the Scriptures you are going to use, meditate on them, plan what you are going to say, consider and pray about what personal illustrations to use, on what other illustrations to use. Consider carefully the interpretation and application of the Word of God.
5. Start Well
Start by introducing the topic you are preaching on and let people know why it is important. That will mean that you are engaging them from the start.