Seven Preachers to Avoid

What a presumptuous title: as though I'm some expert on preaching and know how to do it so competantly. I'll freely admit that I don't. I'll also confess that I sent an organist to sleep last year while speaking and a number of churches at which I've spoken haven't asked me back. However, I don't think you have to excel at something in order to recognise flaws. I'm a terrible decorator, but even I can spot wallpaper hanging off a wall.

 
The Lifestyle Preacher
 
This preacher speaks on some practical topic in order to assist the hearers' lifestyle choices. For example, they might offer advice on how to manage your spare time or household finances or dealing with a difficult emotion. There'll be Bible verses thrown in and it will all be quite useful. Non-Christians in the congregation will think it's really wonderful and go home feeling pleased. 
The difficulty here is that there's no gospel. No sin, no salvation. It's just self-help worldliness dressed up as something spiritual. There's a place for practical Bible teaching, but it's not every Sunday, and never at the expense of the gospel.
 
The Lecturer
 
This preacher is now common in chapel pulpits. He sits down the week before and thinks 'what shall I speak on?' He thinks and prays and then decides on a theme, such as God's love or prayer. He'll then write down his thoughts on the matter and will include plenty of biblical verses and passages to back them up. 
Such sermons are usually sound, but the preacher errs by setting the agenda. Instead of coming up with a theme and then looking for Biblical support, why not find a text and then search for the themes? Let God set the sermon's agenda.
 
The Prophet
 
This preacher has a direct line to God, or rather it's the other way round. He refers to the Bible a lot but he's only really excited about the bits that begin with 'this is what the Lord says to you this evening...' It's usually followed by a 'ministry time' during which he'll lay on his hands and pray with you. Common in charismatic churches, such fellows often prefix their name with apostle or prophet. How much of it comes from God and how much from their own imagination, one cannot tell. 
 
The Testifier
 
This person just gives their testimony of how they came to be saved or coped with a difficult time. They'll include Bible verses. As a one-off they probably get away with it but would find it difficult to preach again without repeating themselves. There's also a danger that it becomes an advert for them rather than the Lord.
 
The Hobby Horse Rider
 
This preacher is very interested in a particular aspect of the faith, be it Christ's return, creation or sexual deviance. No matter what his passage, he always goes back to his favourite theme. Even if the theme is a good one, it grows tiresome eventually, though never to him.
 
The Entertainer
 
This preacher thinks himself a cabaret artist; he's there to entertain the troops. He's always cracking jokes and making light. Never a dull moment. Sometimes, he's even funny, but does he truly speak the oracles of God? Does the Lord revel in his comedy as much as he thinks? A dose of humour can aid a preacher, but it must never be more than a dose. HP sauce greatly assists my enjoyment of bacon; it's never the other way round.
 
The Intellectual
 
This preacher wishes to prove his academic credentials. He enjoys quoting Hebrew scholars and tells us Greek words, even when it makes no difference to his point. Many hearers soon become lost; by fulfilling his quest to appear clever, he loses an opportunity to preach the good news. All light but no life. 
 
So how should it be done? Take a text, tell them what it means. Elements of all of the above may be included. But expounding the text is the most important part. 
 
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.
2 Timothy 4:2