What makes a good preacher? It’s hard to imagine a Church when the pastor preaches and knows that his listeners are sinning, and all the more, if those listeners are not ready to admit their sins. I can imagine that preacher. He seems to be the enemy of the state for preaching the Word of God that can really hurt and pierce one’s heart.
As pastors and preachers, sometimes we have been very concern on how our listeners (members) will react to the message of God especially if the sermon can directly hit the current situation and sin that the member or members are facing, and I believe this is pretty normal. I think all pastors were like that.
We have many fears. We fear that our members will misinterpret the message to be intentional. We fear that our members will jump to another church. We fear that our members will be offended. We fear that we will lose the Church. But is it right that we fear all these things?
“Careful you must, young Padawan. The fear of lost is a path to the dark side” This is what Yoda said as he speaks with Young Skywalker. And this is exactly our picture sometimes. We are torn on the things to say and on the things that has to be addressed for the Church.
As I tried browsing over the net, I found these two quotations as the qualities of a good preacher by Martin Luther King.
“A good preacher should have these properties and virtues; first, to teach systematically; secondly, he should have a ready wit; thirdly, he should be eloquent; fourthly, he should have a good voice; fifthly, a good memory; sixthly, he should know where to make an end; seventhly, he should be sure of his doctrine; eighthly, he should venture and engage body and blood, wealth and honour, in the word; ninthly, he should suffer himself to be mocked and jeered of every one.”
I am not so concern from the first up to eighth virtues. But what makes me laugh upon accepting the reality of preaching is the ninth virtue. Yes, where there are people blessed upon hearing God’s word, there will be some who will not accept it, rather will identify you as their enemy.
“He should not be silent or mumble but should testify without being frightened or bashful. He should speak out candidly without regarding or sparing anyone, let it strike whomever or whatever it will. It is a great hindrance to a preacher if he looks around and worries about what people like or do not like to hear, or what might make him unpopular or bring harm or danger upon him. As he stands high on a mountain in a public place and looks around freely, so he should also speak freely and fear no one, though he sees many kinds of people and faces. He should not hold a leaf in front of his mouth.”
While I totally agree with the second quotation, the reality of what was pictured above is so much painful especially when you see people rebelling against God’s word and from the truth that you speak.
But then again the Holy Book is on our side. As preachers, we are accountable to God to deliver His message, at the exact time that He is telling us.
David Padfield answered a letter sent to him concerning an inquiry of “What Makes A Good Minister”. He said:
“We are to preach the truth in love — all of the truth, even the truth that hurts. We preach the whole counsel of God because that is the only thing that can save the soul. When we preach anything less than the entire truth, we cease offering men the gospel (the good news).
Preaching the truth sometimes means we have to sternly rebuke those we love the most. We rebuke them because we love them, not because we want to hurt them. It is with a lump in the throat and a tear in the eye that we rebuke sin. My comments about “soft” preachers refer to those men (even some friends of mine) who will not rebuke certain sins because it might cost them their job.”
How about you? What do you think that makes a good preacher?