The Challenges of Preaching

Preaching is not just the physical act of speaking publicly about the Word of God, but it is also a full-on battle in the spiritual realm. For this reason, preaching is hard work, and can often be mentally, spiritually and physically exhausting. Preaching also has many challenges which are not always obvious to the eye, so I would like to share what I have learnt about preaching so far. Please bear in mind that compared to seasoned pastors and ministers, I have relatively little experience in preaching, so what I have written here is by no means exhaustive, and as such I'll be updating this article as and when I learn new things about preaching.



The Congregation's Responses

  • Not every heart will respond, and not all hearts respond in the same way. So do not be offended by those who seem to be indifferent about your sermons. Research has shown that approximately 10% of people will not like you anyway (and that's true in life, never mind sermons).
  • There will be people who respond positively by giving you compliments. Ensure that these compliments do not go to your head!  It is imperative that you stay humble.  Remember, God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud. God will bring you down if you get big-headed about your sermons.
  • Give God the glory when people praise you for your sermons. How do you do this? Well, when someone praises you, you deflect that praise to God in your heart. You need not do this openly (typically saying "Praise God") in front of the person complementing you as it can come across in the wrong way, for example:
    • It can make the person complementing you feel guilty that he should have perhaps complimented God instead of you (but you have been used by God, so it is only natural to say something to you in the first instance).
    • It can make you come across too Christianised, in your attempt to show humility outwardly (which in itself is pride).
It is thus better to receive all the compliments with simple "Thank You"s (as if to collect them in a basket), then later when you are on your own, pray to God, thank Him for anointing you and speaking through you, and bring that collection of compliments to Him. Give Him all glory and honour.
  • There will be people that will be envious of you and your sermons. This is usually a good sign that your sermons are powerful and anointed, otherwise they wouldn't care at all. Beware of these types of people (these are the people that Satan will use against you to accuse you of evil things), but do not be afraid of them! 
    • Firstly, remember that this happened to Jesus. He was accused of blasphemy by the Pharisees and Sadducees (supposedly godly people too!). 
    • Secondly this is the Lord's battle; He will take care of this for you - just ensure you do not stoop down to their level and take matters into your own hands. 
    • Thirdly, a word of comfort from Jesus himself:
Matthew 5:11-12
11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
  • Do not be obsessed with the quantity of responses. If there was only ONE person that was touched by your sermon, it would still have been worth preaching it!  Remember Jesus would still have died on the cross to save one man.