I was a new youth pastor and had just preached my guts out at our Friday night service. I thought I’d done a good job.
My wife was not impressed.
“You just preached that sermon like ___________________ (a popular prof at the Bible college I’d just graduated from). You even sounded like him and paused like he does. Don’t ever do that again. Be yourself.”
The rebuke stung, but instantly I knew that she was right. Thankfully she had the guts to call me out on it.
Several months before I heard this same professor preach about Peter stepping out of the boat (Matthew 14:22-33). He opened my eyes to the fact that Peter actually got out of the boat while the other disciples stayed in their own comfort zone. It was a revelation for me and I couldn’t wait to share this message with others.
But when I finally preached that text I neglected to make it my own. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then I was tripping all over my prof.
Unfortunately, I see this far too often now. Unlike when I was new to preaching, today rookie preachers have access at their fingertips to sermons from celebrity preachers from all over the world. Many up and coming preachers have heard literally hundreds of sermons from the likes of Judah Smith, Carl Lentz, Steven Furtick or Levi Lusko. And it shows.
But not in a good way.
Now I see more imitation, and I see more fear. Many rookie preachers wonder if they can measure up to their YouTube mentors rather than wondering if their message and delivery glorify God.
What gives these ‘celebrity preachers’ a platform is the power of the Holy Spirit coupled with their unique personality.
A Better Way – 3 Takeaways for Preaching in a Celebrity Preacher Culture
If you want to be the best preacher you can be (by God’s grace) PLEASE…
Your stories are powerful and your background is unique. Your strengths, experiences, abilities, spiritual gifts and your weaknesses give you something worth sharing. No matter where you come from Christ’s divine power has given you everything you need for life, godliness…and dare I say preaching? (2 Peter 1:3).
Remember that any preacher you love listening to is worth listening to because they are being themselves.
Listen to your OWN Sermons
I’ve talked to many preachers who refuse to listen to their own sermons. When I ask them why they say they don’t like the sound of their own voice or some of their nervous ticks while communicating.
Note to self: If you can’t listen to your own sermons why should you put anyone else through that torment?
When you listen to yourself you quickly pick up if you are being legit or being a fake. You will know if your sermon is authentic or a ripoff. Listen. Learn. Grow.
Go to God
Sometimes you’ve just got to press pause on Code Orange Revival and have a revival all on your own. Before you write a word of your sermon, hit your knees. Go to the Lord in prayer. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Then take captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) the thoughts that scream, “You aren’t good enough!” and ask that Christ would empower you through the Holy Spirit. He will.
If you have been called to preach, then preach with all your might. Just make sure that it is you preaching and not someone you want to be.
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