I recently read a fascinating article by Hershael York entitled “Four Reasons Why Some Preachers Get Better and Others Don’t.” Since York has been a preaching prof for sixteen years, he has some street cred on the topic. The four reasons he highlights (calling, teachability, passion and reckless abandon) are certainly instructive, but his list is not meant to be exhaustive.
So here’s a fifth reason why some preachers get better and others don’t: some learn to be more Christ-centered in their preaching.
Becoming more Christ-centered as a preacher was the focus of this year’s Heritage Preaching Lectures with Bryan Chapell. Dr. Chapel is probably best known for his excellent book, Christ-Centered Preaching. It’s a book we use in our homiletics courses at Heritage and one every preacher should own.
You may think that every Christian preacher or teacher is automatically “Christ-centered”. Sadly, that’s not the case. As Chapell points out, we easily slide into preaching what he calls “the deadly be’s” (be like. . ., be good, be disciplined).
While these messages are not bad in themselves, they are bad by themselves. If they are disconnected from the gospel of Christ, they can turn sermons into moralistic, self-help messages. The solution is to make sure our sermons are legitimately Christ-centered. They must highlight what Christ has done for us as the basis for what He calls us to do.
As preachers come to better understand what it means to preach Christ-centered sermons, their sermons will get better. And their hearers will be better for it!
We’ve posted Dr. Chapell’s preaching lectures on the Heritage website (click here). If you are a preacher, do yourself and your people a favour by listening and learning!