What if pastors were to live honestly before the people of God? Lives unashamed of revealing to the world the reality that we don’t have it all together. We think, feel, and breathe the same kinds of things that every other person sitting in the pews encounters on any given day.
I was talking with a close friend of mine this afternoon and the discussion came up that the pastor needs to be able to reveal to his or her congregation a kind of authenticity that makes a clear statement that we don’t profess having it all together. To go one step further, that within the proclamation of the word, the good news of Christ’s love, that every sermon I preach should include my willingness to be authentic as a way of illustrating the message of God’s love. Transparency of mind and spirit, coming to the table, letting it all hang out, making the word come alive for the sake of the gospel being heard and received in a way that convicts the hearts and minds of God’s people.
My preaching professor in seminary always commented that he’d rather have folks leave church after every sermon with two or three ideas that were easily remembered as opposed to an exegesis of the word “chair.” I wonder if the pastor should take it one step further? How about two or three ideas that reveal God’s heart for God’s people and that are made applicable through the pastors willingness to be authentic?
What does it really mean to be authentic when it comes to preaching?
It means that somehow with God’s help, power, and the Spirit of God always working in the preparation of the sermon, that I somehow tell the ego that burdens me daily to take a hike. Get honest. Be real. And don’t be ashamed to allow my heart to speak through the word God has given me on any particular Sunday.