I once asked someone what he felt was his primary gift. He replied that it was to be a preacher! He said that he loved reading the Bible and didn’t want to do anything else but teach it. He may well have applied some of it in his personal life, but wasn’t able to show any evidence to date of using his love of the Bible to help others. I pointed out to him that people who preach in churches are already impacting people with fruitful lives. (As one person rightly observed, “No good being so heavenly minded if we’re of no earthly use”).
Of course, great preachers don’t just teach the Bible, they help people to ‘live’ the Bible. They inspire people to grow and to change. Their stories and illustrations show what is possible because of what has already been lived in them. They encourage people with a life that practises what it preaches.
One of my favourite speakers to listen to is Bayless Conley, a Californian minister who has visited Australia and also been on free-to-air and cable television here. His communication is not only clear and compelling, but it is thoroughly grounded in the Bible and loaded with inspiring applications that regularly go beyond trivial everyday concerns to show evidence of miraculous healings and life transformation. No glitz and glamour, just down-to-earth, authentic speaking. He can be heard via many of his freely available messages (click here).
In the end, all of us ‘preach’ best when our lives convey a heart message that is aligned to a life that enacts it. We don’t need a pulpit. Whether we impact one person at a time or many, we are successful when we live a life with integrity and fruitfulness before the great ‘audience of one’ in God.