8 Reasons We Preachers Might Be More Boring Than We Think

Most of us don't recognize it if we're boring. (geralt/pixabay.com)

I admit that I debated whether to write this post—primarily because I might be unknowingly describing my own teaching and preaching. At the same time, I don't want to suggest that most preachers and teachers are boring.

I don't believe that's the case at all. My point here is to challenge all of us—beginning with me—to consider these issues/reasons as we preach and teach.

  1. Most of us don't recognize it if we're boring. In all my years of pastoring and serving as a seminary professor, I've met only one person who readily admitted that he was boring. He was right—but most of aren't that self-aware.
  2. Few people are gutsy enough to tell us when we're boring. Instead, many folks will wrongly discuss it with others or even leave the church rather than be honest with us. That's unfortunate and unhelpful to us.
  3. Too many of us don't have a preaching team/review team that helps us evaluate our teaching. If I were pastoring full-time again, I'd take this step almost immediately—even though I don't always like others to critique me. It's uncomfortable but necessary.
  4. Sometimes our preaching becomes boring because we preach too long. Just because our heroes preach well for an hour doesn't mean that all of us can follow suit. For the rest of us, our preaching often wanders in too many directions when we preach longer than we must.
  5. It's easier to blame our listeners for their inattentiveness than it is to take responsibility for our speaking. It's probably harder to hold the attention of a crowd today than it was when I first started preaching decades ago, but their attention to devices and social media doesn't grant us permission to not work to hold their hearing.
  6. It's hard to break patterns in our speaking and teaching. The more we've done it, the more we get entrenched in our ways. If we're not as engaging as we think we are and no one speaks honestly with us, we allow our delivery to become even more fixed. It's just hard to change.
  7. We don't always recognize the importance of good illustrations and applications. I know that scholars debate our role in these tasks of preaching, but I'm convinced that relevant illustrations and practical applications that arise from the text help to hold the attention of our listeners.
  8. At times, our teaching and preaching become boring because we personally have gotten bored with the gospel. All of us hope that would never happen, but it does—and it becomes only too apparent when others recognize our lack of passion in proclaiming the Word.

With all this said, I do believe that all of us can—and must continue to—grow in our preaching and teaching. Please pray that I would be the first to take this step.

Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is team leader for theological education strategists for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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