“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desire, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4, NKJV)
On one occasion as I was visiting another congregation, the young preacher came up to me after services … greeting and introducing himself. As we visited, he said he would like to ask me a question since I had been preaching for quite a while … which was a nice way of saying “you’re an old guy!”
So he asked my thoughts about his lesson. I countered that I don’t usually critique someone else’s sermon. He insisted that I give him my impressions. It was clear that he really wanted to know what I thought.
So, I consented and asked him to sit down on the pew. “Share with me your thoughts,” he said. So, I said “ok.” “Your topic was excellent along with your organization and development of thought.” “Thank you,” he said. “Do you have any other thoughts regarding my presentation?”
“Well, there is one thing … your PowerPoint presentation!” He looked me in the eye as if he already knew what I was about to say. “It was overpowering, the graphics, points flying in from every direction, it was almost dizzying.”
He knew already, kind of hung his head and said, “It was too much, wasn’t it?” “Yep!” I knew it was the right time to give some advice that I had received many years previous.
“When folks leave the worship service,” I said, “you don’t want them talking about what a wonderful PowerPoint presentation you had, or how many humorous stories you shared with them!” “You want them to be talking about what a wonderful Savior we have in Jesus Christ … what an amazing God we serve … and what a beautiful and inspiring, reassuring and guiding light we have in God’s Book!”
“Thank you so much, Brother Fairchild, I really needed to hear this!” He did as much as I needed to remind myself!
Preaching is not about performance. Preaching is not about entertainment. Preaching is not about impressing people with our speaking ability. It’s always been about the message … not the messenger!
Preaching is about preaching “… the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
“So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:15-16, ESV)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.