3 Elements for Transformational PreachingNov 08, 2023
Every preacher I know wants to not merely preach information, but they want to preach for transformation.
That’s why you and I do what we do, isn’t it? Because we want people to experience all the riches of Christ.
- We want people to experience the love of God.
- We want people to experience freedom from sin.
- We want people to experience better relationships as they endeavor to love others as they love themselves.
- We want people to walk in the good things God prepared for them to do.
So, how can we preach transformationally?
3 Elements of Transformational Preaching
1. Preach with a deep awareness of the human struggle
To make your message resonate to the depths of someone’s soul, you must preach with a deep awareness of the human struggle.
When you speak to the real struggles of life, you bridge the gap between pulpit and pew. You’re able to connect with your congregation on an emotional level and then speak with authority (from the Scriptures) to their hearts.
The human experience is filled with struggle. Any given Sunday gathering is going to include people who might be facing one of these challenges:
- A health crisis
- Work issues
- Feelings of numbness and emptiness
- Relationship struggles
- Financial emergencies
I could go on, but you get the idea.
The good news in all of this is that when you exegete the text and then connect it to life, the gospel of Jesus speaks to so many of these challenges. But in order to earn the proper hearing from them on the good news, you need to understand the challenges your people are facing on a daily basis and speak to them.
2. Introduce unfamiliar angles to familiar texts to stir new connections
If you’re regularly preaching to people who have heard many sermons in their lifetime then the mind’s eyes they see many passages through are filtered through their familiarity with the text.
But in order for those passages to stir in their souls, you must bring a new and unfamiliar angle to the conversation.
The goal isn’t to try to bring new truth—that doesn’t change. But to help people see that eternal truth with fresh eyes.
This takes extra work, though. It requires that you read widely, think creatively, and deploy poetic tools in your preparation and preaching.
Think about it: Jesus did this when he preached and taught, didn’t he? People not only were amazed at the authority he preached with, but they were also compelled to think afresh because of the tools he deployed.
Jesus used the following tools for transformational preaching (and you can too):
When you preach and teach through pictures and stories, you’re able to defamiliarize people with a passage and then pierce their hearts with it anew.
It takes extra work, but it’s worth it.
3. Enter the world of the Scriptures and pierce the world of today
Transformational preaching always flows from the text, points back to the text, and calls people to obey the text.
Here you’re connecting the dots for your people. You’re pointing them to the significance of that verse to this Thursday afternoon. You’re pointing them to God’s heart for them in the home and with their kids.
You’re coming full circle and showing your listeners how the very struggles you deeply understand are also understood by God and how following him in obedience will, in particular ways, engage with those struggles.
Our messages must always be both biblically accurate and experientially alive. They must talk the talk and walk the walk. They must be able to get up, stand up, and walk into people's real-world experiences and show them God’s path forward.
When you weave each of these elements together, you’re crafting and preaching a sermon that isn’t just heard but felt. You’ll engage your congregation on multiple levels, from the intellectual to the emotional to the practical and help them walk faithfully into the week.
At the end of the day, transformational preaching is about inviting people into life-change by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Do what you can do and trust God with the rest.
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