Every preacher has their own unique style of proclaiming the truth of God’s word. While I agree with that statement, especially since I wrote it, I would change the word “unique” to “distinct.” Rather than being a unique style, mine is a composite of many others. In that sense, I stand on the shoulders of many preachers who have gone before me. Each one contributed a nugget or principle that I incorporated into my style.
- Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages, and Don Sunukjian, Invitation to Biblical Preaching: Proclaiming Truth with Clarity and Relevance, as well as his preaching courses at DTS – taught me the importance of identifying the main idea of the passage.
- Bruce Wilkinson, 7 Laws of the Learner, taught me to settle for nothing less than lifechange and to balance explanation with application. Teaching with Style taught me how to preach with creativity and banish boredom from my sermons and lessons.
- Andy Stanley, Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication, helped me discover my voice, which for me incorporates visual elements along with the verbal.
If someone were to question my multisensory approach to preaching and trying to blend PowerPoint, props, videos, pictures, and comics into my sermons, I would defend my approach by pointing to the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah was the master of the object lesson.
When God commissioned Jeremiah to his prophetic ministry, he responded with the age-old excuse, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth” (1:6). God sweeps aside those words with the explanation, “I have put my words in your mouth” (1:9).
Throughout his ministry, Jeremiah not only preaches, but he follows God’s instructions and does so in a colorful, memorable fashion.
- Ch. 13 – Jeremiah is instructed to take his belt or sash and bury it in the bank of the Euphrates River. Later, God told him to dig it up and he discovered the sash was rotten. Jeremiah uses it to illustrate the futility of chasing other gods.
- Ch. 18 – Jeremiah visits the potter’s house. In the same way a potter has control over the shape of the clay, so God plans and shapes the future of his people.
- Ch. 19 – God instructs Jeremiah to buy a flask and then break it in the sight of the people to signify that God is breaking the nation because of its sin.
- Ch. 24 – Jeremiah has a vision of two baskets of figs, one good and one bad. The good figs represent the people who will be restored to the land while the bad figs represent the leaders who will be judged.
- Ch. 27 – Jeremiah is told to preach while wearing the yoke of an ox. This represents that the nation will be carried into captivity.
- Ch. 32 – Jeremiah is told to buy a field in the midst of captivity. This provides a picture of hope that God will restore the nation back to the land.
Not every one of Jeremiah’s messages is accompanied by an object lesson. They are spread throughout the book, adding spice and variety to his messages. They encourage me to keep doing what I am doing as well as to pursue even greater forms of creative expression.