Monday, June 8, 2009


I perspire toward the end of sermons where I feel like I missed it. The it is what homileticians variously call the main idea, big picture, core truth, or central theme. In his marquee work, Biblical Preaching, Haddon Robinson warns, "Those who hear you do not understand what you are saying unless they can answer the basic questions: What is the preacher talking about today? What is he saying about what he is talking about? Yet Sunday after Sunday men and women leave church unable to state the preacher's basic idea because the preacher has not bothered to state it himself" (pg. 43).

Yesterday my friend visited our church. A former youth pastor and disciple of Andy Stanley's Communicating for a Change, Rhett asked me if I stated my big idea. The beads of perspiration again swelled. I was unsure. My response was honest, "I didn't have one."

Robinson would call me lazy. Stanely would call me ineffective. Furgeson would call me unfocused. Rhett called me dude.

Naturally, a preacher does not feel sure after each message. I don't. I don't always know it. I'm not always confident, confident, dry and secure.

Last week I did my diligence at sermon preparation: I studied, parsed, cross-referenced, illustrated, discussed, outlined, (Power)pointed, and alliterated. But I sweated my sermon out with my hands in the air. Moses did the same as he led a battle against the Amalekites. And if Aaron and Hur remained committed to Moses after a full day of his battle-tested-desert-scented body odor, I'm sure people who attend church will accept perspiring pastors and shotgunned sermons.

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