I don’t claim to be a great preacher or a teacher of the Word of God, or even good enough to be writing this post myself. However, I have been burdened for young leaders out there who have been struggling to minister from the word after years of knowing and walking with God. If you are one of them, Apostle Paul has a word for you. He says, “Our speech and our message are not supposed to be just plausible words of wisdom, but the demonstration of the Spirit and of power “(1 Corinthians 2:4 ESV) What he means to say is that all of our eloquent words, methods and techniques will fall flat if it is not born, breathed and sustained under the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Here are 7 basic steps that I hope you’re inspired to follow as you prepare to stand before a congregation, no matter how big or small they are.
1. Read through thoroughly.
One of the greatest mistakes Christians commit in the battle field of their lives and ministry, is trying to fight without getting skilled with the sword, which for us, is the Word of God. Don’t you remember how Jesus was well-versed with the scriptures at the age of 12 (Luke 2:41-51)? That was an essential key to victory in his public ministry among the masses, and private ministry among his disciples. As a minister of the word, it is essential for you to know the Scriptures well. Spend a considerable amount of time, money and effort into reading, listening and studying the Word and about the Word. This should continue irrespective of a preaching appointment.
2. Expound on the texts.
Once you select a particular passage (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to preach or teach from, study the context properly. Take time to read the chapters before and after the passage just in case you are not familiar with the context. One of the greatest blunders one can commit would be to preach things out of context. One possible tool to help at this point, would be to study the root meaning of key words, names and phrases in the selected passage to grasp what the writer meant in the original language.
3. Draw your inferences.
Every passage of the scripture is divinely inspired and is written for a reason. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent and equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17 ESV) Once you have studied the text well, you need to find relevant points that will serve to teach, reprove, correct and train the body of Christ. Write down your inferences and key points from the passage you are dealing with.
4. Find relevant examples.
In accordance with the highlights or the key points in the message, find fictional narratives, real experiences, stories or testimonies to illustrate your point. Jesus taught in parables. It becomes much easier to communicate when you have good, and if possible, real examples to back your message up. Whenever you come across an incident or a phenomenon that could illustrate your message, note it down for future reference.
5. Generate Practical Applications.
At times, examples and stories are not enough to drive your point through. You need to bring out the practical application of your inferences into everyday living. For eg: Jesus is alive! So what? What does it mean to me on a daily basis? What am I supposed to do? What should I avoid? Generate practical applications do not always give a complete A-Z guide to your congregation. Allow them enough space to come up with their own applications and practices. As a preacher, your duty is to just feed them the appetizer. They will get their main course through the week, as they learn to walk with God and depend more on him.
6. Examine Yourself First.
The moment you have your sermon ready, spend time examining yourself. This is what Apostle Paul says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV) The reason he could ask the people so boldly to follow or imitate him, was because he had been following and imitating Jesus himself. Make it the foundation of your sermon. Examine your life in the light of the word you are about to preach first, before you share with or preach it to others.
7. Inspire and Challenge!
This is what you are called to do on the pulpit with the help of the Bible you hold in your hands, and the Holy Spirit by whom you should be led, every moment of your sermon, with every word you speak! You are not called to discourage, demotivate or condemn people, you are called to edify, encourage and inspire them to go forward. Challenge your congregation to a higher standard of living for God and His divine purposes for their lives. Pray that every listener be inspired to take their walk with God one notch higher after the ministry of the word.
Do you face other challenges in teaching the word of God? Please let us know by leaving a comment here. We would be more than glad to help you with it.