The Most Important Natural Gift that Preachers Neglect

In this Q&A Panel, Sinclair Ferguson (30:50-34:30) laments that many preachers never develop the humility to train their voices. This is how he puts it:

The voice is the instrument that employs the words and the voice needs to be sanctified, needs to be developed, the ability to use it needs it to be developed. It’s part of your sanctification.

He commends the practice of testing out different voices as you read the  same words and then says:

Just as we are to grow in grace and make progress in our gifts, we need to encourage younger men not to assume they’ve got all the necessary gifts, nor that, of course, they’re able to use their voice because they’ve been called to preach.

He notes the lack of pathos in much contemporary preaching…

which means that the preaching is going to be instructional and cognitive….We really need to see that pathos is an important element and its got to do with the way the use of the voice matches the teaching of Scripture if its going to be communicated vocally to living souls who are emotional as well as cerebral individuals.

I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Ferguson. If the voice is unimportant, we should just get Siri to preach for us. Reformed seminarians and pastors seem to be strangely reluctant to develop this talent with a view to maximizing the impact of their teaching on their hearers.

But where to start? Do what Dr. Ferguson suggests. Just get a paragraph and read it out in as many different ways as you can. I get students to do a form of this. I ask them to speak on a verse for a few minutes without notes and to do so as if their life depended on it. Some still manage to be executed.

Or try this NPR video. Don’t dismiss the techniques as silly or a gimmick. Something similar to the first breathing exercise saved my voice from burning out in my first congregation and continues to influence the way I speak even in everyday life. It’s amazing how just getting the air coming from the right place opens up so many vocal possibilities.

Of course, this is not just for preachers but for anyone who has a role in publicly teaching the Bible.


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Kindle Books

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.


Wednesdays were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, And God by Michael Kelly $0.99.


The Most Important Place on Earth: What a Christian Home Looks Like and How to Build One by Robert Wolgemuth $1.99.


Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God’s Word Today by David Helm $3.99.

New Book

Asking the Right Questions: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Applying the Bible by Matthew Harmon.

Video

Meet the Baker who serves gay customers but won’t make a gay wedding cake


Q&A Panel With Ferguson, Begg, and Mohler

I loved this panel discussion between Alistair Begg, Al, Mohler, and Sinclair Ferguson. So much practical wisdom in here for pastors and seminarians.

5:33 Q&A begins

5:59 Alistair, are you a Baptist? :)

6:41 Is our culture moving from a culture of guilt to a culture of shame and how do we address that in the church?

9:49 What do you do as a pastor when you feel that you are losing zeal?

15:47 If you are preaching through a book, particularly a long one, and you lose your enthusiasm, should you stop, pause, keep going?

26:58 Do you have favorite preachers to listen to? How do we avoid becoming parrots of our favorite preachers?

35:20 How does a pastor begin an expository preaching ministry where that has not been the norm?

45:03 When retiring from the ministry, should we guide the elders and congregation as to succession?

55:33 How do you equip young men for the ministry and help them be accountable as they prepare for pastoral roles?


The Bittersweet Parting

“Parting is such sweet sorrow.” This is one of William Shakespeare’s most oft-quoted lines. What few realize is that it was uttered in the context of Juliet saying goodnight to Romeo “till it be tomorrow.” The sorrow of that parting was sweetened by the knowledge that it was only for a few hours.

But what about those partings from loved-ones that will be for years and years? There is nothing sweet and plenty bitter about such partings. What unmixed sorrow when a dying husband has to kiss his wife and children goodbye for the last time! What bitterness when soldiers on the way to Afghanistan have to say goodbye to their family and friends! What agony when a pastor and his beloved flock have to part, in response to God’s providential call, and sever the bond of love built up over years! Such partings are not “sweet sorrow,” but usually bitter, bitter, bitter.

The Lord Jesus also knew the deep sorrow of parting from His beloved family and flock on this earth. Time and again, He cautioned them that he had to “go away” (John 16:7). This was not easy for them; but neither was it easy for him.

Read the rest of this article at The Christward Collective.


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Kindle Books

Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus by Mark Dever $3.99.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxes $1.99.

We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong by Al Mohler $2.99.

New Book

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Reformation Heritage Books Summer Sale

Reformation Heritage books is currently hosting their annual Summer Sale. Click over to see all their offerings. Below are a few highlights.


A Brief Compendium of Bible Truth by Archibald Alexander ($7.70)


A Marvelous Ministry: How the All-round Ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon Speaks to Us Today by Curnow et al ($3.00)


Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption by Joel Beeke ($3.80)


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