The Art

The Art, Craft and Science of Preaching and Teaching God’s Word #25: A teaching’s introduction should be more than just a sterile explanation of what you intend to prove and how you intend to prove it. It should be visceral, it should sell your teaching to the listeners. It should be preached, not taught. It’s your explanation of why the next twenty minutes of your audience’s lives are absolutely crucial to their destinies. It should be planned with great care, and delivered with all the aplomb you can muster. It is the frame which you are using to display truths of eternal value.
“If you’re not interested in your life changing, forever and for the better, then you might as well leave now, because we’re not screwing around. Virtually every problem you’ve ever had in your life can be traced back to your ignorance of what I am about to show you in Hosea 4.6…”

12 thoughts on “The Art”

  1. I like running meetings which I teach. This makes it possible to sell your teaching before you even get started with it. I’ve seen this done at a local mega-church, and it’s a great technique, even though the mega-church’s actual teaching had all the depth of a mud puddle. during their lengthy musical introduction, the teacher came out in between songs, and explained what he was going to teach, why he was going to teach it, and why he believed it was pertinent to their lives. it was an admirable selling job. i wish the product he was selling had been more substantial.

    1. Dr. Wierwille’s book “Jesus Christ is Not God” has a superb introduction. It climaxes with the following: “What difference does it make whether Jesus Christ is God or the Son of God? The difference and the importance of this difference is the basic reason for writing this book. If Jesus Christ is God and not the Son of God, we have not yet been redeemed. The difference is that important, that critical.” Like all great introductions, this one doesn’t mince words. it’s a gauntlet thrown down. It’s a challenge to the student’s very best thinking.

    2. Great to see you at the Special! I think we should look at how others present the Word. They are trying to solve for some of the same problems we are and have some good solutions.

      Churches, especially the “megachurches” tend to be higher on the emotion/preaching scale and we tend to be low on the emotion scale, and have a teaching vs a preaching style.

      There is no one perfect way do do it. All are needed, and it is a real skill to be able to switch modes in response to the needs to the people.

      The overall goals can be showing people how to be closer to God, to function better as a team, or personal improvement. This can involve changing something that is not working, or doing more of what is working. Human beings require emotional engagement to take action. Intellect alone won’t do it. But, the intellectual part is required for the action to be sustained.

      The way I look at it is “take home value.” If what you taught does not give your people something of value that remains with them then you have wasted their time, and yours.

    3. that’s well put.

      people may not know the take home value of what you teach unless you tell them. that’s what can be done in a well-executed intro and conclusion.

  2. Great point. Those people in the room with you when you teach have made the commitment and decision to be there, and God knew before the foundation of the world they would be there to hear His Word. So, you better have something cogent to deliver, and you communicate it as though it’s the last thing you may ever utter with all you’ve got. It may make an impact, n’est pas? At least you’ll know you’ve done your utmost.

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