I’ve really enjoyed teaching preaching at Heritage Seminary this Fall. It’s a new thing for me, and I didn’t know how much I would enjoy it. Not only has it been enjoyable, but it’s taught me quite a bit.
Here’s some of what I’ve learned (or relearned):
The fundamentals matter. Nobody will become a great preacher after attending class, reading books, turning in assignments, and practice preaching twice. But you can learn the fundamentals. If the fundamentals are there, in time, you can become a very competent preacher. If the fundamentals aren’t there, you don’t stand a chance.
Preaching is hard work. Students were surprised how much work goes into crafting a good sermon. It doesn’t look hard when you see someone get up with the finished product, but thinking one’s way clearly from the text to a finished sermon, and communicating that message effectively, demands something of us.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of good preaching out there. I can relate to Lloyd-Jones when he said he wouldn’t cross the road to hear himself preach, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking again about the fundamentals. The principles of sermon preparation are like the principles of good driving: taught in class, but not always seen on the road.
I really grew fond of the students. I didn’t know this would happen. I wish someone had warned me.
The gospel really is beautiful. I’ll never forget one student preaching. The sermon was good, and then it got to Jesus, and it was great. To paraphrase Tim Keller, it went from being a Sunday school lesson to a worship service. It’s hard to get tired of the gospel. It really is beautiful, the fitting climax to pretty much every sermon.