Preaching Nga Ba o Assuming Lang?
Aug 22, 2019
Peak Your Self, Preacher
An excerpt from the book Preaching Nga Ba o Assuming Lang? written by Armand Canoy
In 30 years of preaching, many times after delivering a sermon, I would ask myself, “What happened? Did I preach? What did I preach about? Or was that the worst preaching I did?”
One time, I stood at the pulpit and gazed at the members. One or two were already sleeping even before I started. I wasn’t sure if they were planning to test my patience that day. I preached disappointedly.
There was another time when I walked out after my first point. It was because I did not have anything more to say. Feeling sorry for myself, I went into my office, cried, and asked for forgiveness for coming unprepared on that wonderful Sunday created by the Lord.
Kung hindi ka nakaka-relate, praise the Lord. I am not blaming the other tasks of a pastor, the stresses, and the pressures of pastoral work, but there comes a time when preaching the Word becomes the least priority, so that sermon preparation comes with a feeling of just another Sunday to finish a preaching task.
In my second book, Pastor Nga Ba O Assuming Lang? which was taken from my doctoral dissertation at the Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary, a survey among 185 pastors/preachers revealed what I am saying above. Sabi ng survey among pastors/preachers in Luzon, pastoral preaching came last among six of what they perceived to be the dominant characteristics of an effective pastor. Ang pagkakasunud-sunod ay pastoral discipline, pastoral equipping, pastoral ministry in context, pastoral teaching, at pastoral calling. Last ang pastoral preaching.
Nakakagulat na ayon sa survey, ang pastoral preaching/communication ay kulelat sa anim na perceived dominant characteristics of an effective pastor, sa kabila ng perception that preaching is a priority task. Naniniwala ang mga respondents na hindi priority para sa isang effective pastor ang pagiging dynamic preacher, preacher with a sense of humor, at crowd drawer; despite the fact that preaching is a major part of being an effective pastor and is the most visible sa kanyang calling (mostly every Sunday). Sabi ng survey ay hindi ito ang primary characteristic ng isang effective pastor. Hindi ika nakukuha sa pagsasalita.
Sang-ayon naman akong kulelat ang area ng pastoral preaching sa survey, bagamat naniniwala akong kung lalong mai-improve ang preaching, mas dagdag points ito para sa isang pinahusay o papagaling na pastor (parang may sakit ang datíng), kung hindi man papaayos pa lang.
Kaya nga, we need to stop, park, check our preaching, and also check ourselves. We have to Peak Ourselves, Preachers! This means we have to bring ourselves to our peak—the height of what the Bible calls a herald, a messenger, a preacher. At our prime, ika nga, when it comes to crafting or making sermons and sermon delivery. Yun bang parang noong bagobago kang preacher na laging nag-aapoy ang iyong buong katauhan at atat na atat kang mag-preach every Sunday dahil ang mensahe ni Lord from the Word ay alafive star hotel chef na inihanda mo para sa iyong nagugutom na mga myembrong pawang umaasa lang sa iyong magigiting na exposition.
Kay Dr. Saure pa, noong ikaw ay pulpiteer pa. Hindi na ito gaanong ginagamit ngayon kasi nilagyan din ng negative connotation. Ang pulpiteer para sa iba ay namumulpito o ginagamit ang pulpit to advance the pastor’s agenda. Natatakot ang members na gumawa ng kababalaghan dahil baka raw siya mapulpito. Parang multo ang datíng, ano po? Pero ang meaning ng pulpiteer ay eloquent speaker/preacher—powerful o dynamic, expressive, articulate, persuasive, stirring, at much in demand (hindi demanding). Laging naiimbita, ika nga.
Ngayon nga, inalis pa ng ilang pastor ang pulpito. Wala rin—pareho lang ang klase ng preaching, inalis pa ang pulpit.
To peak our selves, to be at our prime, is a time to check ourselves, just as car owners do when their cars need a regular check for standard maintenance or when the car starts to malfunction. Kapag panay na ikaw ang nakakabangga, baka naman hindi na manibela ang may problema—pwedeng ang brakes, ang ating mata, ang tenga, o kaya ay ang reflexes ng nasa likod ng manibela. Wala naman sigurong mawawala kung haharap sa salamin para alamin kung anong area ang kailangang i-repair upang masabing we are back at the prime of our preaching ministry. May madadagdag kamo at walang mawawala. Mark Dever, who wrote Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, believes that the primacy of preaching, particularly the expositional type, makes the church healthy because the members are being fed by the Word of God Sunday after Sunday.
We have to do something to be back again at the peak of ourselves as biblical preachers. Hindi pwede ang ipagkibitbalikat na lang ito! Kaya i-park mo na ang preaching mo pansamatala and be ready na ayusin at siyasatin naman ang preacher— ang sarili. Well, kung talagang ready ka na talaga, sabi nga, sa atin talaga magsisimula ang anumang pagbabago.