Several years ago, one of the men I was discipling asked me to write down some principles of public teaching/preaching. He had traveled with me on several occasions over the years and was interested in how to prepare some thoughts to share with others. The following list was for him, but as I review the items discussed, I think they are of benefit for all of us who are asked to speak before others on spiritual topics. They are certainly not exhaustive on the subject of public teaching, only illustrative of what the Lord has shown me to be important in my own life. I share them with the hope that the Lord will have an opportunity to use them in your life as well.
1) Must come from the following.
Read it through
Pray it in
Live it out
Pass it on
We cannot bypass these middle two! Unless what we teach has changed our own lives, it is of limited effectiveness in the lives of others. It becomes robbed of its power. John 1:5 states “There was a man-sent from God-his name was John.” The man was the message, not merely a deliverer of the message.
God does not just send us with a message, we are the message.
2) Is inspired by a God given message. (I Peter 4:11)
3) Is dependent upon the Holy Spirit for preparation. (James 1:5)
4) Requires organization. (Ecclesiastes 12:9,10)
5) Begins with the scriptures. (II Timothy 3:16,17)
What do the scriptures say about the topic in question? Is what I say consistent with the meaning of the passage?
6) Is developed as a series of
a) Scripture references
b) Principles from scriptures
c) Life illustrations.
7) Must minister “Grace” to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)
8 ) Should focus on application. (James 1:22)
Transformation is the goal, not just information.
Use specific applications that are clearly understood and are able to be transmitted to others.
9) Waits for a God given opportunity
10) Looks for the one in the audience with whom to invest their life.
In any audience, there will be the curious, the convinced, and the committed. The ultimate goal in any teaching opportunity is to be available to the lives that desire to go beyond curiosity. Our job is not over at the end of the message, it is just beginning! Eight years ago, a man whose interest went beyond curiosity came to me with some questions at the end of a message on discipleship. Our relationship began at that point, and countless hours have been invested in his life. Philippians 4:9 states “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” This man has learned, received, heard and seen over these last eight years, and has put what he has seen into practice. The Lord is using him to help transform the lives of others into followers of Christ. My prayer is that when you have opportunities to speak before others, you will be looking for the individual in which to invest your life, and that they in turn will be used by the Lord in the lives of other individuals.
In Christ, Richard Spann