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Preaching: Spiritual gifts, learned skills and...?

Whatever gifting one has, it is important to be a good steward of that gifting.  We should “fan into flame” what God has put in us. 

BIBLICAL PREACHING AUTOR 108/Peter_Mead 15 DE JUNIO DE 2023 08:55 h
Photo: [link]Mitchell Leach[/link], Unsplash CC0.

Is it possible to have the gift and preach poorly?  Is it possible to not have the gift and preach well? 

If I have a group of 20 students in a preaching class, should the gifted ones ignore the class because they have the gift, and should those without the gift ignore the class because they can’t preach anyway? 

My question is not should everyone ignore me, that’s a different issue.  My question is about who should preach, what does it involve?


Gifting for preaching

A good starting point is to note that the lists of spiritual gifts do not include a gift of preaching.  There is a gift of teaching, but is that the only gift that might be helpful from the pulpit? 

What about evangelist, exhortation, leadership, pastor, etc.?  Many of the gifts can be a real asset to pulpit ministry.  I am certainly not saying everyone should preach, but perhaps an individual motivated to try preaching should not dwell primarily on whether they have the right gift or not. 

There is more to it than that.


Skilled for preaching

Whatever gifting one has, it is important to be a good steward of that gifting.  We should “fan into flame” what God has put in us.  This will involve not only use of our gifts, but also training, mentoring, personal discipline, reading, etc. 

It is possible to be gifted appropriately but preach poorly.  So we should seek to develop our skills in preaching, but there is still more to it. 

It is possible to have appropriate skills (perhaps from a secular work environment like teaching), but not be an effective preacher.  Why?

I would like to add two more elements into the mix. Two things we should dwell on in regard to preaching:


Spiritual element of preaching

In the old days this slightly intangible element was called “unction.” Today many tend to refer to “anointing.” Effective preaching takes more than gifting and training.

There is that intangible aspect closely tied to personal spirituality, prayer, and the mystery of divine enabling. Personal holiness should be above reproach. There are various factors in this, but no guaranteed recipe.


Personal passion for preaching

This is not a passion for personal glory or attention. Vanity and pride should be abhorred in pulpit ministry. But I refer to that burning in the bones, that deeply felt desire to study and communicate God’s Word.

Perhaps this is partially a gift issue, or an anointing issue, but it is an issue worthy of consideration.

These four elements all beg further thought. Should you preach this Sunday? Should I? Can we not? Why?

Peter Mead is mentor at Cor Deo and author of several books. He blogs at Biblical Preaching.




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