One thing I have found during services in church is that many times visiting preachers, are given this massive ego-boosting introduction, saying this person is “a Doctor of .., President of … and Brilliant communicator”, so we have a big expectation of a great sermon which inspires us! And then you get a talk on something which is unchallenging and nothing new.
Apparently in an American church, there is a Pastor who tells the young men and women going off to college/university, “It don’t matter what titles you get at the end of your course! You should not be concerned about whether or not you become Doctor or a professor…, what you should be concerned about is testimonies not titles!”
Jesus chose 12 main disciples to follow him, obey him and start getting people to follow God in a new way, most of them were fisherman, considered one of the lowliest jobs around! Jesus, himself, was a carpenter, the only one of the disciples who had a “civil-servant” type role was Matthew, the tax collector.
So why do we have this hang up about getting a Masters/Bachelors in Theology or a certificate from a bible college? Spurgeon’s College is apparently “the place to go” for anyone who wants to train to be a Baptist minister, but Charles Spurgeon himself started leading a church and preaching at the age of 19! He was a preacher that really had an impact on the 100,000 who heard him, he created the college to enable those who did not have a highly qualified background to get the necessary education for Ministry.
I realise that it is necessary for a minister/leader to know his bible well, but I believe that any minister also needs to be able to be guided by the Holy Spirit. The “qualifications” for a leader were laid out by the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 3 verses 1-7. Something that we sometimes forget!
As for preaching, the best talks/sermons are not completely bible-based or intellectually driven i.e “the gospel of Matthew says… (insert famous theologian’s name here) said…” but actually testimonies and real life examples “hit home” harder in peoples hearts. I once had an heated debate about whether I was “immature in my faith” as I said that I preferred lively, light-hearted talks that spoke more of how God works in peoples lives compared to an hour “lecture” on what a particular bible book says and how it “intellectually” is constructed.
I go to church to be inspired to live my life for God, to be a different person, to have a different attitude, to be a better person. If we are not challenged/offended/incensed into action, what is the purpose of the talk? We may as well be patting each other on the back and eating cucumber sandwiches with cups of tea! All lovely and admirable but not effective in spreading the gospel!