Great message – poor delivery?

Looking back at the great narratives of the Bible, we find numerous mighty men and women of faith who, despite their astonishing encounters with God, grappled with moments of profound discouragement.

Take, for instance, the life of Elijah the Tishbite, a man of faith and an outstanding prophet. After a dramatic and awe-inspiring contest on Mount Carmel, where the Lord’s power was made evident and Baal’s prophets were utterly silenced, one might think Elijah’s faith would be unshakeable. Yet, mere days later, he found himself in the wilderness, asking God to take his life, utterly disheartened by Jezebel’s threats.

Have you ever felt like Elijah? There you are, having delivered a sermon with every ounce of passion, having sought the face of the Lord for days, anointed and prepared, only for it to seemingly fall from the pulpit like a block of concrete? It’s certainly disheartening. However, the consolation is that even the greatest have their moments of doubt and discouragement. It’s only human.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

The beauty of the call is that it isn’t based on our eloquence or capability, but upon God’s grace. Yet, as stewards of the mysteries of God, there’s a calling to constantly refine, to reflect, and to grow. If your recent sermon seemed to lack impact, might it be time for some introspection?

No matter which church or denomination you are a part of, it’s a given that our foremost priority in all we do is to seek God’s help and empowerment.

This principle applies to everything, not just preaching or teaching. It’s one thing to say that without Him we can do nothing; it’s another to truly recognise and live by that truth. We’re not always as brilliant, charismatic, or inspired as we might believe (if in doubt, ask your spouse!). There’s always room for improvement, so actively pursue it!

One solution might be to critically examine your preaching.

Assess the conviction behind your words, the content of your message, and the method of its delivery. The global church boasts countless gifted preachers. Dedicate time to listening to them. Observe their approach, their mannerisms, their sincerity. Take notes — not to imitate, but to learn and to refine. Avoid complacency!

“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” (Proverbs 1:5)

Passion without preparation can be mere noise.

Many would value the platform and opportunity you’ve been granted: the privilege to expound God’s truths and to relay the gospel that has ignited your heart. To rest on one’s laurels and not diligently work on honing one’s gift is, in many respects, a disservice to both the calling and the congregation.

A preacher’s dedication isn’t solely to the message, context and meaning, but also to conveying it effectively. Bear in mind, God’s word never returns void, but the vessel can always be improved, moulded, and purified for His glory. Arrows strike most effectively when they’re straight, sharp, and launched with force.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)

In times of discouragement, hold fast to the assurance that He who began a good work in you will see it through to completion. Yet, do your part. Enthusiastically commit to improving your speaking ability for the sake of His Kingdom and those who eagerly await every word you speak.

The air in our nation is palpably dense with anticipation for a move of God. Be prepared, be refined, and be expectant of what He will accomplish through you.

May you be rejuvenated, replenished, and reinvigorated to declare His word with power, clarity, and impact, holding firm to the belief that God has much to say through you, and every sermon presents a renewed chance for lives to be profoundly transformed and for His Kingdom to come with fervent vigour!