Why your pastor isn’t as good as those professional speakers

On a website devoted to professional speakers, the author gave advice about “that great killer story you love to tell,” and then “the heart-rending windup.”  I imagine every speaker wants one each of those in his messages.

Then, the blogger dropped the bomb.

“After you get your speech down pat and you’ve given it a number of times and feel you’re effective, it’s time to start working on speech number two.”

I laughed out loud.

Speech number two?

These guys have one speech?  One???  And then, when all is going well, they add one more?

Pardon me while I sit down.

Do you know how often a pastor speaks? How many sermons of 20 to 30 minutes or more he gives every year?  If he speaks twice a week and accepts a few other invites along the way, that’s easily a hundred sermons in one year.

The professional speaker then dropped a second bomb.  “Sometimes you’ll find some guy on the circuit who says he can speak on anything!  He lists 25 subjects on which he’s capable.  But don’t be fooled,” he says.  “No one can do that.  This guy is claiming something no one can do and do it well.”

No one can speak effectively on 25 subjects?

But your pastor does it all the time.  And not just 25 subjects.  He has all the subjects.  All of life.  Nothing is off limits to him.

Okay.  Two different animals, professional speakers and preachers, right?  But you’d be amazed the pressure on the preacher to sound like the pro, and the perfectionism we put on ourselves when we don’t.

We are not professional speakers, however.  We are God-called proclaimers of the riches of the gospel.  We preach the Word.  We are not sent to entertain or charm, to captivate or thrill.

Now, I’m not against these professional speakers who make the circuit of chamber of commerce dinners and generate all the raves. I’ve enjoyed Jeannie Robertson and Diane Sawyer and quite a few others at these dinners.

What I am against is comparing our pastors with them unfavorably.

None of these speakers could do what your pastor does. None of them!

The pastor is a speaker, true, but not like these professionals who make their living with one or two talks.  They live in different worlds….

–The pastor is often rated according to his sermons, but he is far more than a sermonizer.  He is a shepherd, a physician, a teacher, an administrator, as well as a preacher.  And a whole lot more.

–No pastor hits a home run every time he steps up to the plate. Nor should he be expected to.

–Sometimes the pastor’s story really works and sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes his Bible exposition was clear and helpful and sometimes it missed you altogether.

–Pastors have off days when the sermon seems dead on arrival.  You would too, if you had to do what he does.

–Pastors learn quickly to drop the perfectionism.  No one can do this perfectly every time. So, the smart ones cut themselves some slack.  (The joke is that pastors want to resign every Monday.  If so, it’s only those who have not come to terms with their own humanity and God’s sufficiency.)

–Speaking (preaching) is only one part of the pastor’s job.  Granted, it’s the major one.  They don’t call us preachers for nothing.  But the typical pastor spends much of his week in hospitals and homes, attending planning meetings, administering a church staff, dealing with problems of all types, and then, when he can, he studies for his sermons.

Like the public (professional) speaker, pastors appreciate a good ending that ties the sermon’s points together with a zing.  Wish I could do that with this article.  Oh well.



17 thoughts on “Why your pastor isn’t as good as those professional speakers

  1. The ideal pastor does more than prepare a sermon. But there are countless stories from congregations all over this country that can tell you their pastor never visits hospitals, nursing homes, parishioners’ houses; nor do they often get involved in Sunday Schools or even building maintenance. Too many pastors delegate everything until all they have left is a weekly sermon. And that’s a pretty sweet deal for a salaried job.

    • Or it could be that so much pressure is placed on the pastor to preach outstanding sermons that he doesn’t feel like he has the time to do all of the other tasks. However, in the end, a pastor’s main two priorities are preaching and praying, while trusting in the deacons to help with the practical needs (Acts 6:1-6).

    • I’m bivocational, part time fleet maintenance, part time pastor, part time life in general. Right now I am preparing us for Revival for the Remnant, March 8,9,10, requires alot of organizing, and on my off days tearing the floor out on our circa 1876 fellowship hall from frozen pipe, preparing 2 Sunday sermons, 1 Thursday Facebook live Bible study, some other stuff. But I do want every sermon to be food for the sheep, and God honoring.

  2. I also experienced a Pastor’s frustrations when I did not give my best on delivery/ speech but I am much convinced that preaching has spiritual impact to the lives of people – that’s our highest calling, amazing!!!

  3. Pingback: Why Your Pastor Isn’t as Good as Those Professional Speakers

  4. Joe, have you forgotten the days when many churches also had Sunday evening services. What about a Wednesday midweek service in which many times the pastor would “teach” in the sanctuary, which could be as long as 45 minutes. Not to mention the pastors of smaller congregations in which the pastor could also teach a Sunday School class on top of the Sunday morning, and those possible evening and Wednesdays. I do appreciate the good reminder, as a pastor whose successor resigned because people left, “because they weren’t being fed.” That statement always makes me bite my lip as I know my response could be harsh as typically from people whose spiritual life was warming a pew once a month. Again, thanks for the good reminder.

    • Jim, I said the pastor would preach a hundred times a year. So that would cover both Sunday morning and evening. And in Wednesday night services these days, I can’t think of a single one where the pastor brings a “message.” Usually they are classes, small group meetings, etc. But as you say, we used to do that. I’d preach twice on Sunday morning, once that night, and another full message or Bible study Wednesday night. And yes, the chairman of deacons called on me once to say, “Joe, they say you’re not feeding the flock.” I said, “Mike, I just finished preaching through the gospel of Matthew. What do they mean?” He said, “I don’t know.” I said, “Please ask them.” I’m still waiting to hear back.

      • Lol….
        That how they make you feel like after working all your time to deliver a great sermon.
        Sometimes , pastors are a pitable element in the of most congregation.

  5. The work of a pastor is to preach the good news, by highting the people’s hope and faith in order to meet God standards. .
    An ordinary speaker is to fantasize your day and make you dream beyond boundary..
    Pastors has a lot more to deliver compare to an ordinary speaker.

  6. Thanks Joe, I needed the reminder to preach to One. Amazing how many times I think the message was flat but many tell me great sermon…then I think wow that was great and there’s no response at all! You reminded me to seek His Will and just preach the Word.

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