The Art

The Art, Craft and Science of Preaching and Teaching God’s Word #23: If the introduction to a teaching is likened to escorting the audience to the mountaintop, where they will encounter the truth which will deliver them, the conclusion is your ushering them back down into the valley of human need. Like the intro, the conclusion is best executed with preaching. The conclusion isn’t the time to show them the Biblical documentation for your topic; you already did that in the body of your teaching. Your conclusion, which ought to be as gargantuan in its claims as your introduction was, closes the gap between the vision you’ve set and your listeners’ ability to act on it. “Yeah, I know this has just blown your mind. Mine too. So let’s all of us shove it up the Devil’s nose this week, bringing deliverance to anybody fortunate enough to be within earshot. Okay?”
If you’ve done it right, there are only two possible answers: Either “Okay!” or, “These people are fruitcakes.”

13 thoughts on “The Art”

  1. The point is, if the truth is set out before people with the kind of clarity i am describing, the only possible reactions are to believe it or to not believe it. My use of the word “fruitcakes” is just me being cute.

  2. Teaching speaks to logic and reason. People don’t take action on logic and reason. They take action on emotion. Preaching is the emotion component. It’s not either/or, it’s both.

    1. There is some Nobel Prize winning work that has gone into how our brains operate. Daniel Kahneman wrote this up in his popular book “Thinking Fast and Slow” We have an intuitive, emotional part of our brain (“System 1” thinking) that causes us to take action. This part of our brain operates with little effort. The “System 2” part of out brain is logical, rational and analytic. This thinking is slower and more effortful. People that have suffered damage to the emotional parts of their brain are left without ability to make even simple decisions. We tend to think of emotions and reason to be opposed. They are not. They work together like a horse and a rider. You need both to get anywhere. God already had this figured out and this is why the Word teaches both preaching and teaching. Either one alone does not do the job. The two together give you the full package of knowledge plus action.

    2. This is fabulous information. Thank you. I wish preaching were.emphasized more than it currently is; it functions as a lever, enabling people to better hear and digest teaching. Good presentations are a skillful mixture of preaching and teaching.

    3. One problem that we have in Christianity is the persistence of the Platonic concept that the reasoning mind is ideal, that the body is inferior and corrupt, and that the emotions reside in the body (the “fleshly passions”) and therefore appealing to emotion is inferior to appealing to reason. These is some truth to this but in reality both reason and emotion reside in the mind, and they are not in isolated compartments. The “flesh” as the word describes it is our body AND soul which includes the entire mind. Body soul and spirit need to work together in harmony. No part of the arrangement is an “enemy” The old man nature, the mind conformed to the world is in opposition to the spirit, but can be brought into harmony with the renewed mind.

    4. nicely put.

      a good presentation of God’s Word is certainly more than just information. it begins with the presence of the teacher; his love, his charisma, his life capturing the imagination of the audience. it includes personality. there’s a sense of drama and wonder to it. there’s an element of entertainment.

    5. if those within the sound of my voice are not thrilled with the Word of God, it better not be for a lack of my being thrilled with the Word of God.

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