Monthly Archives: May 2014
Most people know the importance of discipleship. So we are out there to look for a quick solution and antidote to the issues we are facing in church. We hope to setup certain programs, follow some patterns and start some classes. But why they work for some churches but not for some others? Day in day out, for weeks and months, or even years, things still remain the same.
What we didn’t realize usually are the things that happen behind the scenes. We may mimic the hardware but we didn’t have the software. The truth is that there’s no shortcut to discipleship. It is not just something achieve by programs, courses or classes. Besides these programs, courses and classes, the people spend time discipling one another. The leaders have to be particularly active in this. They spend their time to mentor, coach and disciple the next few generations of leadership. It is in the interacting that iron sharpens iron.
There are three important types of discipleship to exercise. Firstly, directive discipleship. The discipler must lead the way and give the disciple a direction or a path to take. He must help the disciple to make sound and wise decision when the disciple make the wrong choices. However, this does not mean we can lord it over our disciples. It just mean exercising leadership in discipleship.
Secondly, there is supportive discipleship. Here our role is to encourage the disciples. Our role is to help them see beyond the impossibilities. They can live out a greater potential God has bless them with.
Thirdly, there are times where we need corrective discipleship as well. We need to correct certain wrong attitudes or mindsets, bad habits or addictions and other outward behaviours.
These three types of discipleship are exercised to disciple different aspects of a disciple. There are a few that I would like to highlight here. Firstly, attitudes. Here we are dealing with the right worldviews and mindset. A disciple must learn to think correctly. Secondly, attributes. Here we are talking about discipling for the attributes of God. A disciple must have the characteristics of God. Thirdly, aptitude. Here we need to help the disciple to acquire different ministry skills to serve God. A disciple must be able to serve God well.
To achieve all these, we will need a clear purpose in our church. When the purpose is clear, we can then work out a plan suitable for us. Next, you need people. Know who can be disciplers and who should be discipled. After this, what they need is the process of discipling. This is best achieve in a personal discipling process. However, it is also the most time consuming. We take time to sharpen iron. Only gradually, we can see the products.
Are we ready to invest in discipleship? It is certainly worthwhile though sometimes can be heartbreaking. Remember, don’t just work on the hardware like programs, we need the software like you and me to spend time together.
Sermon does not end with it’s preparation but in it’s delivery and response. A well prepared sermon can be delivered in a boring manner. Preaching is the proclamation of the Word. It is not about reading our script. As such, preachers do well if they are well prepared for delivery and response of the sermon.
My purpose here is not to talk about the part on sermon preparation. I would like to focus more on sermon delivery. Firstly, we need to be familiar with our script. The sermon must speak to us and convict us before we preach it to others. If we are not familiar, we will be pausing too often. We would not be able to build up a climax in our sermons.
Second, we need to project our voice and use it to give life to our preaching. We must not mumble but project our voice with gusto. We can create a stereo effect of our preaching by mastering a few techniques. We need to learn to go and pause, fast and slow, high and low, soft and loud. Though this maybe seen as a technique, but it can come naturally if we feel for our sermons. If we preach with our hearts, our passion will overflow and it will be felt. Our sermons will come alive.
Thirdly, don’t quote too many verses. Some preaching are like reading a series of verses. People are so sick of flipping to so many texts that they give up. Use sparingly. This is not a teaching seminar. Two to three supporting verses should be more than enough for each point. I would probably use less than that unless I am doing a topical sermon.
Fourthly, use analogy, testimonies and illustrations wisely. It’s good to use stories especially if they are used appropriately. Stories help us to remember the points more easily and they can convince the audience more easily too. Real life testimonies make the sermon real. The worst case is to make people feel that our sermons are too holy beyond their reach.
Fifthly, leave room for the Holy Spirit. Don’t be too strict to follow our script. Speak naturally and allow the Holy Spirit to add in new things in our sermons. Sometimes, the Spirit of God can just remind us of fantastic stories that speak a thousand words.
Lastly, know what kind of response we want to achieve. Don’t just end with a prayer without a challenge. God’s Word demands a response from us. Don’t just end it with a summary of our sermons. Go ahead to challenge people to commit to God.
My hope is that preachers would not bore people with the Word of God but to make it come alive for the Word of God is living and active.
Preaching a good sermon good sermon is never easy. It should accomplish three goals. Firstly, it should convince our heads. Secondly, it should convict our hearts and lastly, it should challenge us to commit our hands. But all these must be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. Preaching is not about entertaining but it is about engaging our minds, enlarging our vision and hearts, and enriching our lives. Preaching is not about informing but it is about internalizing the Word of God, igniting our passion and inspiring our lives. May God bless all His servants who have this awesome responsibility.