I love preaching, I’ll be honest with you. I love listening to great sermons. Live, or via podcast, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll listen to great preachers whichever side of the pond they come from and whatever wing of the church they call home. I listen to Rob Bell and Mark Driscoll. I listen to Tim Keller and Francis Chan. I even listen to a few Brits like Joel Virgo, Nicky Gumbel and the Bishop of London!
There is nothing like listening to a well crafted talk full of beautiful language, memorable phrases, powerful ideas, evocative metaphors, compelling stories, and new perspectives. I love painting, poetry and sculpture, but the sermon is undoubtedly my favourite art form.
Of course it is so much more than that. A sermon like that, takes hold of your heart, fuels your imagination, forms and shapes your desires and affections even as you listen, and sets you on a new path for the week ahead. I am sure Tim Keller is absolutely right; a sermon can change you in your seat. Great preachers don’t guarantee church growth, but there is no doubt in my mind they remain a key factor. Sermons really do matter.
I love thinking about preaching too. Each week I preach I am conscious of the new things I learn and discover. The ideas that work, those that don’t. I am hungry for feedback from those who’ve heard the sermon and I always listen to the podcast of my talk in order to see where improvements can be made for the future. There are podcasts of my own sermons on this site so do have a listen and let me know what you think.
I am still on a learning curve and I do my best to keep it as steep as I can. I read books about preaching. I go to conferences about preaching, I listen to talks about preaching. I’ve recently joined the staff team of St Paul’s Shadwell, a fantastic church in East London. One of my priorities here is to oversee the teaching, and strengthen and deepen the preaching at the church, so a lot of fresh thinking is taking place. Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be posting different articles looking at some of the issues I’m wrestling with. Do let me know what you think whether you are a preacher yourself or on the receiving end of a sermon every weekend.