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Preach the Word


"Paul... called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God" (Rom.1:1).

Introduction All committed Christians experience the call of God in salvation. As Paul teaches, "Those [God] predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified" (Rom.8:30). The apostle, in writing to the church in Thessalonica, exhorted the young converts to live lives worthy of God, "who had called them into his kingdom and glory" (1 Thess.2:12).


Then, God calls his people to special ministries or works of service, which we sometimes refer to as 'callings' (see Rom.12:6-8). Ephesians records the ministry gifts Christ gives to his church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers" (Eph.4:11). The call to preach and teach God's Word and gospel can be a powerful one.


The knowledge of God's call to preach the word should affect our sermon preparation and selection - and its delivery in the pulpit. For example, in the pulpit:

We will preach passionately
The God-given message, well-prepared in the study, will carry divine conviction. Its delivery will involve the emotions - the message will burn in the heart. With Paul, the anointed preached will say: "I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1 Cor.9:16).

We will preach evangelistically
The preacher's mandate is: "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Mk16:15). Even pastors must "do the work of an evangelist" (2 Tim.4:5). The pulpit should call people to repentance and faith.

We will preach pastorally
The Lord's command is: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you"PREACHING AND PROJECTORS Introduction Effective use can be made of overhead projectors (OHPs) and PC projectors in preaching. But their bad use can distract rather than attract a congregation from listening to the Word. Here's some advice: 1. GENERAL ADVICE a. Prepare your presentation well. Be professional about this. b. If you're using an OHP - laser print your acetates if you can. Handwritten presentations can be untidy and difficult to read. Underline important points with a colour OHP pen. Do this on the reverse side of the acetate to avoid smudging. c. Choose your typefaces, backgrounds and colours wisely - acetates or slides should relate to each other. Don't go overboard with colours, clipart and typefaces. Keep things simple. The presentation should serve the preaching. d. As a general rule don't use silly or cartoon clipart. Any kind of picture can distract a congregation's attention from preaching. Cartoon clipart can contradict serious points. Resist the temptation to be slick or clever with type or pictures. Check your spelling and Scripture references carefully. f. Test your presentations before using them. This will help you to criticise their relevance and legibility. Seek a second opinion. g. Prepare a handout for the projectionist so that pages are shown at the right time. Microsoft's Powerpoint enables you to print out nine screens on a sheet of A4 paper. h. Don't use too many acetates or slides. Six may be enough for a three-point sermon (including the title, introduction, main points and conclusion). You may need more for a Bible study. 2. SPECIFIC ADVICE a. Observe how preachers and teachers make use of visual aids. Copy their good points. b. Don't change the acetates or operate the computer yourself (e.g., a laptop with remote control). Doing this will divert your attention and stereotype your mannerisms. Give the task to someone as a supporting ministry. c. Dale Carnegie advises public speakers: "Don't keep turning to the screen to point things out" (Art of Public Speaking). When you do this you lose eye contact with the congregation. The habit also creates the atmosphere of a lecture. d. Don't turn the lights down or off in order to highlight your presentation. God's instrument in preaching is the preacher - and people want to see the speaker. Again, the preacher must maintain eye contact with the congregation. Avoid the temptation of imitating the popular media in your church services. Churches should not be in the entertainment business. This is fast becoming the church age of floodlit pulpits and music-backed prayers and sermons! Avoid gimmicks. Footnote Christian web sites can be a rich source of ideas and clipart. (Mt.28:19-21). Preaching should involve care and concern, as the preacher is involved in "preparing God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" (Eph.4:12).

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Copyright 2007 Vernon Ralphs

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