It happened to me. It was in February of the year 1988. I was attending a minister’s conference when I heard the following statement. “So, you’re teaching, that’s great! But is anybody learning anything?” I had been a senior pastor for over ten years. People were being saved on a fairly regular basis, and my church had grown. The idea however, tore into my heart like a knife. The Holy Spirit had my attention for sure. Up until that moment in time, I thought my job was just to preach the word and leave the results up to God. I wasn’t cavalier in my attitude – I just felt that if people did not listen and change, they were rejecting God and not me.
But God spoke to my heart that day. I understood that God was calling me to a new level of intensity in the ministry. From now on, I was being challenged. I would seek God for a passion in my preaching. A passion that would bring about a definite change in behavior in the lives of the people that I was ministering to. The results are still up to God by the way, but from that day forward there was a new passion in my heart to not be satisfied until I did see life changing breakthroughs in the lives of those who are listening.
Now understand, I had long before that day been a man of prayer. As much as possible I was also diligent in my study of the Bible. But I started digging deeper than I ever had before. I started striving for far more excellence in everything I did in my ministry. It wasn’t long before I realized that the improvement that I needed was in the way I was communicating. You see, I knew what I was saying, but I began to realize that people were not necessarily hearing what I was trying to say.
The essence of these writings on sermon preparation is to convey the ways that God helped me since that day to prepare myself to be a better communicator of the deep truths of God’s Holy word. It is my sincere prayer that anyone reading this will be both challenged and assisted in your ministry. It is also my prayer you will see greater results as your listeners really do experience a God given change in their behavior.
Pastor J. Stephen Jordan