Ever felt like what you were preaching just wasn’t “landing” with the students? Welcome to life in Student Ministry. Here are a few things that I focus on when I preach (this is in no way exhaustive!) I hope you find it helpful as well.
- Is it Understandable? This is big. I once read in one of John Piper’s books this great quote, and I share it with you as well: “When the gospel is proclaimed, it must be explained…Unintelligible goods news is not even news, let alone good.” Great words of truth for us. Billy Graham was also once quoted as saying “I study to be simple.” I love that. Yes, teach on key doctrines of the faith! If you don’t do this…you’ve missed the point. But please, whatever you do, explain yourself to these students. All of your “ologies” need explaining.
- Can you define your entire message in one sentence? Great practice for anyone who teaches the word. If it takes more than one sentence to define your “point,” start all over again. Keep doing that until you can give a thesis statement for your entire sermon.
- Your body language says it all. I once had a professor in Seminary who was (and still is) a master writer. His books that I had read going into his classes were mind breaking for me in many ways. Then it happened. I took his class. He bored me to tears. Somehow the exact same things he wrote about in his books just did not connect with me when I heard him lecture. What was it about his presentation that bored me? His information was great, but it wasn’t landing. No passion. No connection with the class. Just information overload. What I needed was energy and enthusiasm. I needed to know from him that this was more than just information, but that it was urgent truth! Our students need that from us as well.