Defining Effective Preaching is Simple
Definition of Effective Preaching
The definition of effective preaching is: “delivering a sermon within the gifting God has giving you”. Over the years, I have watched other preachers on YouTube and in person. This often leads to admiration with respect to certain qualities of their style. However, God has gifted each of us individually, for His purposes, and life changing ministry flows from this. I rarely listen to YouTube preachers anymore but still seek out those who sing. I just love singing preachers!
Nevertheless, there are two (2) preachers that I used to watch often. First is Bishop Noel Jones of City of Refuge. Having watched hundreds of other preachers, regardless of race, he must be the most intelligent preacher alive. His style blends logic, philosophy, and sound theology into a powerful mixture of outreach. The other is a little-known Pastor named Gino Jennings. I will not attempt to frame this Prophet, and his gifts - you should hear him yourself. What each man possesses is something noticeably different from anyone else. By walking in their “specialty”, the only result could be blessing the Kingdom of God.
Nevertheless, here are three (3) areas to consider when measuring your effectiveness:
1. Embracing You: most of us compare ourselves, and unfairly so, to others we believe are gifted. Nothing could be further from true, and we all need to knock this off! Didn’t God tell Jeremiah: “before I formed you in the belly I knew you?” God embraced your gifting and substance, why won’t you? How could He not when He created you? If something was lacking, God failed in your design. Think about that – “God failed”.
2. Allow the Holy Spirit to reign: doesn’t scripture exhort us to a place of surrender? Somewhere I read: “present yourself as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable, and blameless which is your reasonable service”.
3. Focus on the moment, not the audience: when I preach, it seems as if the audience are “shadows” (so to speak). No, I am not into witchcraft, just making the point that the Spirit focuses on the “message” and not the crowd.
In summary, effective preaching is guided by the Holy Spirit but its substance must align with your gifting. You and I understand we have no business alive, let alone being God’s “voice” to others. However, He selected us (who knows why) so we must walk in that authority.
What is a Great Preacher
A great preacher is nothing more than an obedient Preacher. It is my hope that no one ever sees, much less proclaim me, a great preacher. I do not claim this and scripture says something much different (about all of us). The Bible reminds us about “our works being nothing more than filthy rags” and it is “by grace through faith, and not works we are saved”. Our culture assigns greatness with both a quantitative and qualitative measuring stick. This is not true in the kingdom of God! Quality is measured by God’s view, alone. Moreover, quantity of ministry activity is often more of a hindrance than benefit.
For instance, even Christendom views its “greatest preachers” as those who are most known. “Known” across wide swaths of Christianity is ALWAYS associated with “anointing”. Nothing could be further from true! These are often the rich and famous pulpiteers and viewed as the Lord’s “handpicked” superstars. They are “liked” by millions while scripture says these are the people NOT serving the Lord. The Bible warns: "Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets."
Biblical messengers of God were always persecuted, assaulted, and killed. How is it, then, that there exists such super-star Preachers of the Cross? Jesus said: “the first shall be last in the last shall be first”. If I am last, and being brought to the front of the line, wouldn’t this make me in the eyes of God the greatest?
Here are three (3) traits of a great preacher:
1. Praises the Lord through obedience: in pursuing their form of “greatness”, many run away from the very flocks God sent them to lead. This happens through preaching at out-of-town churches which distract from their current assignments. In pursuit of a “national name”, they have forsaken the “Name above every other Name” and do not realize it. Obedience to the cause of Christ demands being uncomfortable, often unknown, and obedient to the “task at hand”.
2. Accepting who God made you: those mentioned in #1 do not accept their current assignment is enough. They LUST for more than God wants for them and use His Name to satisfy it. We call ourselves “children of God” with the “favor of God” but our action say we believe neither. Some years ago, my Pastor made a statement which was stunning. He was leading a small congregation and said: “I believe the Lord wants me to pastor large church”. This was his way of telling me he didn’t have long at the church. My response was: “what if the Lord would move you from a larger church to a smaller to build”? The look on his face told me he had never considered that possibility while preaching: “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts neither are his ways are ways”. Unfortunately, he went on to pastor a larger church and was thrown out for personal conduct reasons. By the way, this was the second church he was thrown out of. This does not include abandoning the one (1) he planted. His pursuit of personal glory damaged him, his family, and those who followed at each stop on his personal “glory tour”.
3. Blessing His people through your substance: I do not mean financial, necessarily, but allowing God to guide you produces immeasurable blessings. The reality is we have nothing more to offer people than the Word of God. I currently pastor micro church, have for some years, with advanced religious education. Our church pays me $150 per week which I am blessed to receive! I would pastor for free, however. Unlike most, at fifty-one (51) years of age, I am totally at peace with this and thankful He allows this at all.
In summary, a great preacher serves God from a place of obedience. I feel bad for confused preachers who try to establish a national profile like my former Pastor. They believe God is blessing them with a “full preaching calendar” but are only being distracted.
The Bible Says: "Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called 'Rabbi' by others." - Matthew 23:5-7
Who are the Best Preachers
The best preachers are those who God called, equipped, and are obedient to His Word. It saddens me that other so-called Christian websites have provided lists of preachers supposedly better than others. By what scriptural and theological measure is this declared? For instance, there was a man who lived a few hundred years ago named Charles Spurgeon. There is little doubt this brother did much to advance the Kingdom of God. Nevertheless, modern Christendom has assigned him the title: “Prince of Preachers”! This is much like the apostate Catholic’s church declaring Peter “the greatest” of Jesus’ Apostles.
Other declared greatest among us are: John MacArthur, John Hagee, TD Jakes, Joel Osteen, Joyce Myers, and many others. Even in the traditional African American church, men such as Bishop Noel Jones, Marvin Winans, Juanita Bynum, Bernard Mitchell, as well as others are held up as superior. I wrote an article on what a blessing Pastor Bernard Mitchell has been to my ministry. However, and although he is a nationally renowned speaker, what qualifies him as better than others?
As I close, it is a ministry killer to compare yourself to anyone else. You were created uniquely and gifted to carry out a specific mission. Millions of people have seen my ministry videos on YouTube. Further, I am the most prolific African American clerical blogger in the nation. Yet, you don’t know my name, and have never heard of me. I have just as many YouTube video views as national preachers, but I am unknown (in general). Further, ten (10) of my YouTube channels were set up using keyword distribution ONLY, and I never mention my name on any.
That is purposeful because I do not care about being known (except Jesus of course). There is no “about me” page on this website, although there is an “About Us” page. For our mobile viewers, that page cannot even be accessed either. That’s just it brethren - scripture tells us: “do our alms privately in the Lord will reward us openly”. “Openly” can mean many things however, it is my goal for no one, except the savviest Internet sleuths, to ever know who I am. All that matters is, before they die, they know who Jesus Christ, the son of God.
Header Image Courtesy of Safari Consoler @ Pexels