The Significance of Relationships in PreachingJuly 24, 2013
Expositional preaching is difficult work. What may appear to be only a thirty-minute message is actually the product of countless hours of study. We dig, we sift, we analyze, and try our best to present truth that first, honors God, and then second, helps people. A preacher is a “workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” But it is possible to study for weeks, prepare for days, and preach with passion and fire only to have your message fall on deaf ears. The preacher must not only labor in his message, he must labor with his members. Proper exegesis may build your sermon, but good relationships deliver it.
If you are cold and distant outside the pulpit, don’t expect people to warm up to you while you are in the pulpit. In his book, The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make, Hanz Finzel proclaims, “Only through association is there transformation- we cannot change people if we do not spend time with them. People who do not change their minds can’t change anything, and it takes face time with people to see such transformation.”
Your influence is measured through your labor: not just your labor in the Scriptures, but your labor in the saints. The preacher has to build relationships. This is New Testament protocol. This is the Great Commission plan. This is discipleship in action. We are not only called to preach, we are called to preach, and make disciples. Influence therefore is at the very heart of our labor. Finzel goes on to say, “When all is said and done, the crowns of my achievements will not be the systems I managed, the things I wrote, or the buildings I built, but the people I personally and permanently influenced through direct contact.”
Jesus wasn’t just interested in spewing out an outline to His audience. He embraced them, talked with them, and became acquainted with their sorrow and travail. Remember, preaching isn’t just about preparation, it is about people.