Saturday, April 05, 2008

Preaching what you don't feel

Helpful thoughts from John Piper:

Can a pastor preach on joy when he is feeling little of it?
Yes. He is preaching what the word says and will say it whether he feels it or not.

Yes. He will be praying that in the very preaching of it, the gift of joy might be given. It does happen.

Yes. He will be honest with his people and over time communicate to them that he has his ups and downs and may have to preach on a text that does not find great fulfillment in his life at the time of preaching.

Yes. But over time the disjunction between text and person will undermine the ministry of the word. Preaching is expository exultation, and when the exultation is missing for extended periods of time, life will contradict content and this will weaken or even kill the ministry of the word.


Eutychus said...

I agree entirely. There are times when you just have to be a "professional," and do the job. But if you find that all you are is professional, you're in trouble!

Randy Greenwald said...

Helpful thoughts? Certainly. But what is your intention in posting them? What ought a man do who is struggling with an emotional or experiential disconnect? Are you suggesting that he resign his ministry? Take a sabbatical? What? His heart may be to preach the word and shepherd God's people, not to 'be a professional'. But he finds that his emotions are not as pronounced as those of Mr. Piper. What path are you suggesting he to pursue if, as the quote suggests, perseverance will kill the ministry of the word?