Last week at Anderson University we hosted Ralph Douglas West as he presented the 5th annual John A. Broadus Lectures on Preaching, sponsored by our Clamp Divinity School. He did a marvelous job on the lectures using the theme “Preaching from the Inside Out.” (The lectures will be posted online soon at www.auministry.com.)
I thought that theme was particularly appropriate, since so much of what happens in our preaching ministry depends on what is happening in the inner life of the preacher. For example, it is hard to sustain an effective preaching ministry if the preacher is not maintaining a faithful devotional life.
Because the reality is that what we say as preachers has less to do with impacting the lives of our listeners than what the Holy Spirit does with our feeble offerings. As Tim Keller observes in his new book Preaching:
“To be sure, your listeners are responding to your skills, preparation, character and conviction in a general sense. And these are critical elements of any good communication, including good preaching and teaching. But for the act of preaching in particular, there’s something even more central to persuasion: your listeners’ sense of the Holy Spirit working in and through you.”
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