An old pastor from East China shared that preaching is related to preachers' spirituality.
Recently, the Christian Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper, interviewed an elderly pastor who is called Zhao Guangyi (pseudonym). Pastor Zhao shared three pieces of advice on how to prepare sermons: preparing, preaching, and why some pastors are losing the power of the Holy Spirit when preaching today.
Christian Times: How do pastors prepare a sermon?
Zhao Guangyi: The most basic is to have a good spiritual life every day and to establish a deeper life relationship with God. In this way, we can be nourished by the life of God and filled with the Holy Spirit. Some pastors I observe have a spiritual practice that is only a formality, and even though they are passively involved in the ministry, they have no spiritual life.
Moreover, when preparing the sermon, the speaker himself must first be moved by God. He can then move the believers when preaching.
Also, the pastor should have a good spiritual quality and temperament. Sometimes, the testimony of the pastor’s life is better than how he preaches. Another point is that in the process of preaching, it is good to be full of vigor and dress well. I usually spend at least 20 to 30 hours preparing a sermon.
Christian Times: What should the content of a sermon focus on?
Zhao Guangyi: I think, first of all, there must be Word of God, and the Way comes from the Word of God. Secondly, we should interpret the Bible according to justice, and the interpretation should not be too academic. Today, some pastors often quote words in Hebrew or Greek to show that they have studied theology, which is not practically comprehensible to believers.
Moreover, it is very important to have appropriate examples of real life in the sermon. Preaching is like building a house. If the house has no doors or windows, which can be built beautifully, it will eventually suffocate the dwellers in it. Therefore, there should be appropriate examples that conform to the truth of the Bible. There must be a final conclusion, which can push believers to do good deeds or repent.
In addition, pastors should study and understand the Bible and constantly improve their level of interpretation, not relying on past experiences. Also, preaching cannot become chicken soup for the soul and be influenced by the world. Otherwise, it will be difficult for believers to get blessings from God.
Christian Times: Why do some lose the power of the Holy Spirit when preaching?
Zhao Guangyi: I find that many pastors either overemphasize grace and do not talk about the cross in their sermons or just talk about the cross but not about God’s grace. Without balance, there will be some biases. This will result in the inability to let the work of the Holy Spirit run freely in the congregation.
Pastoral speakers should visit their brothers and sisters more often to understand their needs and the current times and situation in which they live. Pastors should share the truth according to God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that they can resonate with God’s words with believers.
As speakers, we should be alert and let God clean us, who are the vessels that convey the words of God, so that what we preach can build believers up.
- Translated by Charlie Li