Read an Excerpt
Choosing To PreachA Comprehensive Introduction to Sermon Options and Structures
By Kenton C. Anderson
ZondervanCopyright © 2006 Kenton C. Anderson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFIRST OPTION are you going to preach?
first Question: Are you going to Preach?
Every semester I see it in their faces. Terror. Naked fear.
"What am I doing in a class on preaching? How did it come to this?"
I see them slink into their seats, eyes imploring. "Please be gracious to me," they seem to say. "Please don't make me preach."
I understand their apprehension. It is quite possible that you share it. Some surveys have suggested that people fear public speaking more than anything else - more than getting bitten by a snake or facing financial ruin, even more than death. I am asking a lot when I ask that you would preach.
You may be a raw rookie, reading this as part of your first homiletics class, or you may be a seasoned preacher, a veteran in the pulpit. You may be a youth leader or aSunday school teacher who is terrified to think that what you do might be called "preaching." No matter how experienced we may or may not be, we all will have to make our choice, renewing our commitment with every opportunity. We have to choose to preach.
Are You Going to Preach?
Yes, I am going to ask you to preach, but you need to know that you don't have to. No one will ever force you to preach, though they may try to force your silence. Silence is always safer. People who keep quiet seldom run into trouble. If you choose not to preach, you will be among the many who have decided not to burden others with the truths they have come to, and you will not come to harm. This is a civilized and tolerant option in a world that prefers to leave well enough alone.
You have to choose to preach. The world conspires to keep us quiet. Inertia stills our tongues. It takes a concerted effort of the will to choose to tell the truth despite the trouble it entails. Proclamation is a choice. You have to choose the road less traveled.
I found a new path near my home this week. Slightly overgrown, the way was not immediately visible. The farther I went, the harder it was to discern the direction. Blackberry bushes were choking the way with prickles and barbs. Small trees and bushes encroached on the trail, making progress difficult. Still, stubbornly, I kept going.
We will do that sometimes. We will put up with the trouble and deliberately take the more difficult road because we think it might convey us to a better place. We know that life is about more than just our comfort. We take our lead from Paul, who knew all about difficult choices and thorny paths. He was hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, but not so much that he wouldn't preach (2 Cor. 4:8-9). For Paul, the choice was very simple. "I believed; therefore I have spoken" (2 Cor. 4:13). The matter was never really in question. It didn't matter what might happen or what peril he might face. He believed the gospel was the truth. How then could he keep silent?
It might have been easier all around if he could have kept his mouth shut - easier for him and for his listeners, who would not have had to confront his message and come to terms with their sin. Everyone could have lived at peace if Paul could have left well enough alone. No one begrudged Paul his view of truth. We have no difficulty letting people believe what they want. Everyone is entitled to determine his or her own sense of truth. The problems start when people like Paul decide to be persuasive. The trouble begins when people choose to preach.
? Discussion Question 1 | IS PREACHING ARROGANT?
Preachers seem too sure of themselves for these postmodern times. Claiming to understand enough truth for one's own sense of meaning takes courage, but proclaiming the same to others requires a particular sense of hubris, or so the culture thinks.
How can a preacher avoid the charge of arrogance? How do we tell people truth without coming across as if we think we are superior?
Excerpted from Choosing To Preach by Kenton C. Anderson Copyright © 2006 by Kenton C. Anderson . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.