If you want to do expository preaching right, Bryan Chapell’s classic Christ-Centered Preaching is a must read. (And if it’s not already on your digital bookshelf, it should be!)
Dr. Chapell is senior pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois, and president emeritus at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Over the years, he has been asked countless questions about how to best share God’s Word. Here are his answers to five common inquiries.
- When you talk about Christ-Centered preaching, are you becoming antinomian? Are you rejecting morality if you focus so much on the grace of God? Not at all. The grace of God not only frees us from sin, it’s the fuel for holiness. Christ-centered preaching helps us motivate and enable people to obey the law of God—not to escape the law of God.
- What are common blind spots among preachers? The most common is expecting an audience to know the same academic vocabulary we learned when we were trained to preach. By using weighty vocabulary, we’re desiring respect more than understanding. People are no less intelligent, but they just may not have the same word background.
- What’s the best way to preach effectively? The key is maintaining a challenging style without losing the audience. So we should never overestimate people’s vocabulary, or underestimate their intelligence. Using simpler words and saying profound things in a simple way is the calling of a minister who is more concerned with being understood than worshipped.
- How can worship connect with the sermon? The most obvious answer is in the selection of the music—a hymn or a song—that follows the sermon. It can carry home the message with emotion and inspiration. Singing affirmation helps people commit themselves. Though it’s harder to do, even the music preceding the sermon can also reflect your themes.
- What’s the take-away from Christ-Centered Preaching? The main point of the book is that the Church through the centuries has worshipped God in a way that is a re-presentation of the gospel. Worship includes music, but we begin worship by saying how great our God is. Our hearts are humbled, and it includes adoration, confession, receiving God’s grace, thanksgiving, and seeking greater instruction for mission. That’s also a description of how the gospel works in our individual lives.
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