In the last three articles we have seen how to preach Bible stories by using running narrative, why preachers should be transparent in their sermons, and the importance of keeping your sermons biblical, balanced, and brief. Let’s see another tip that can transform your delivery:
4. Taste it before Serving It
After twenty-six years of pastoring and thirty-two years of preaching, I can tell you that preaching is no problem at all—it’s practicing what you preach. This came home to me one day through the actions of a young lady. She transformed my preaching ministry. Late one afternoon, I was coming out of an elevator, heading home. I was not thinking about anything else, just walking along on my way. There was a girl walking out of the culinary arts lab, and she had a plate with cookies on it. I can honestly tell you I wasn’t thinking about eating the cookies. When I greeted her, she immediatly became nervous and attempted to hide the plate of cookies behind her back. I asked her, “Did you just bake those cookies?” She answered very softly, “Yes, Pastor Schettler.” I could tell she was nervous, and I thought, “Whoa, I’m not here for your cookies. I’m just being friendly.” We talked for a moment, and she continued on her way. I didn’t think much more about it at all.
The next morning, I entered my office and there was a paper plate on my desk with a pile of chocolate chip cookies and a letter. I looked at the cookies and opened the letter. The letter changed my life. It read, “Pastor Schettler, yesterday, you came down and saw me coming out of the culinary lab and asked me about what I had just done. That was the very first time I had ever made chocolate chip cookies, so I didn’t know how good they were. I wanted to make sure I tasted them before you had any. They tasted pretty good. Here they are.” I took that letter, went over to my couch, and knelt down and said, “Dear God, if a girl wouldn’t give me a cookie until she tasted it, by God’s grace, may I never preach a message that I haven’t tasted in my own life!”
Who do we think we are as preachers? That girl wouldn’t give me a cookie until she tasted it. Have you tasted what you’re giving your people? Think about the messages you’ve heard that have so touched your heart. The preacher had probably tasted whatever it was that he was preaching.
We know that God gave the writers the very words of Scripture, but didn’t He make the man fit his already existing Word? The book of Hosea was in Heaven before Hosea himself was ever created. But God took Hosea through the whole process with his wife to let Hosea experience what God was going through with Israel. I understand that Psalm 23 was in Heaven before David ever existed, but I will tell you, it took a shepherd to write Psalm 23. God makes the message in you to give out to others. Those things that you’re going through in life are the things that you’re supposed to preach about. That’s what your people need.
Taste it before serving it. Your preaching will never be the same.