There is power in identity. When we create the right kind of identity, we can say things to the world around us that they don’t actually believe makes sense. We can get them to do things that they don’t think they can do. -Carmine Gallo, Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds
Wrapped up in this quote is a key to preaching the works: helping people see the possibilities of a sermon on their future.
Many sermons seem to miss this component, helping people imagine the changes that would come to their life if a change was made.
Think for a minute, what if someone began reading their bible? What if someone actually let go of a past hurt and forgave someone? What if a married couple began investing in their relationship as much as they do a hobby or their kids? What if someone actually began to see the impact of seeing God as father would make in their life?
Often, sermons tend to stay in the intellectual side of things or we focus on getting to the emotions (possibly manipulating them).
What about motivation?
I know many can cringe at this because it makes them feel like a salesman, pushy, or that they are simply being a motivational speaker who is creating rah-rah cheers in their church.
This question gets at something every pastor should answer before they get up to preach: why should anybody care about what I’m about to say?
The answer is not because it is in the Bible, most of our culture does not care what is in the Bible. The answer is not because it is true, most people in our culture do not believe the Bible is truer than some other book.
It gets at why most people show up at church on a given week.
Most people walk through doors of a church looking for hope.
They might be lost, they might be aimless, they may have tried other things, they may be at the end of their rope or halfway to the end.
But they are looking for hope, for possibilities.
A sermon, through the power of the gospel should show them that hope.
This is one thing I say almost every week as we get ready to take communion. We are reminded in communion that when Jesus walked out of the tomb, we have hope. Hope that one day all the wrongs of our world will be righted. Hope that we can conquer all things through the power of Jesus. Hope that we can live the life God has called us.