Sunday, February 14, 2010

The golden moment in preaching

What constitutes a great sermon?

I would be interested in your answers.

It would be easy (speaking for myself) to start a list of measurements: clarity, conviction, connection with congregation; or exegetical preparation, exposition of passage, application after leaving the service. That sort of thing.

In a recent sermon something happened (at least as I discerned it) which is also part of great preaching - indeed one might need to resist describing preaching as 'great' unless this happens during the sermon.

The sermon made its way through the pathway the preacher had charted in preparation - all usual important characteristics were present (clarity, relevance, engagement with Scripture, etc). But then there came a moment when (so it seemed to me) an unusual quietness came upon the congregation, every eye and ear attentive to the preacher and what he was saying. It felt, to me, like everyone was leaning forward slightly more than usual to make sure they missed nothing of what was being said.

It was a golden moment in preaching. A moment when God and the people of God met face to face. And God was doing the talking, not God's people.

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