I firmly believe that relational, face to face, living life together discipleship is the best way to see the best and fastest life-change in people. The problem is we cannot be that person for everybody.
In most of our leadership contexts our preaching is going to play a big role in whether people are buying into Jesus or not (whether you think that is a good thing or a bad thing). The person upfront delivering a message from God’s word is many times going to be the only teaching someone gets a week (or even the only act of discipleship they’ll see). This means it is very important for you to inspire life change through your preaching.
I can already hear the objections: “no, only the Holy Spirit inspires life change”, “no, life-change is best motivated through relationships” “no, present the Gospel and life change will happen”.
I get all this I really do. But preaching and leading in God’s church is a massive responsibility and a massive burden. Preaching is leading. There is no way around that. You cannot be the personal go to for everyone in their discipleship, but you can be a spark up there on Sunday morning, preaching your heart out, and sharing your passion for Jesus with everyone there.
As preachers who lead we MUST be inspiring life change in our sermons. Today I want to provide a few keys on how to do this.
Present the Gospel of Jesus
If, as preachers, we want to see any meaningful life change in our hearers hearts we must present the saving power of Jesus. I do not care how great your principles are, how great your wisdom is, how great your application is, or how great your preaching is. If it does not present what Jesus did for all of us on the cross then it falls empty. You can preach about how to live with courage and give great reasons why to live with courage, and clearly explain how to live with courage. But if you do not connect living courageously with Jesus you have failed in the task of preaching.
To prepare hearts for life change we must present the awesome power of Jesus in our preaching.
Prepare for Objections
People who experience life change came out of something before they experienced it. We all have done this, and I would say we will all do this again. For this reason you must prepare yourself against objections people will have to experiencing this life change. Whether that is just basic objections against the Bible, or objections against taking the next step in their Christian walk.
I am not talking about preaching a message and then being prepared to answer objections after the service or whenever they come up. See the problem with that approach is many times the objections will never come up to you. Instead prepare to answer the objections in the sermon itself. This way you are already engaging with those who will pushback.
Practically Apply the Principles
Do not just read a text, explain what it means and then leave it at that. Just because you logically came to a practical application of the text does not mean your audience will. No, to inspire life change in your preaching you must practically apply the principles of the text, and the principles of the Gospel.
Present a Call to Action
Tell people what the next step is! So many times I hear a good sermon, but then I am left hanging on what I am actually supposed to get up and go do!
If we want to inspire life change from our preaching we must work hard to create messages that speak to the life change we are looking for. First, our hearers to accept and spread the Gospel, and second, the principles that a belief in the Gospel inspires us to live for.
How to you inspire life change in your preaching? Let us know in the comments!