It has long been common for pastors and leaders to describe “vision statements” for their churches and ministries, but how about a vision statement for your preaching? Where are you going with your preaching? What is it that you are trying to accomplish by this effort?
A vision statement for preaching could be offered at both the macro and the micro level. We could work on a grand, encompassing vision for our overarching ministry of preaching. We could also speak about the vision we have for each specific sermon.
A vision statement for my preaching ministry might sound something like, “Through the practice of my preaching, people and churches will be led to hear from God through his Word and by his Spirit such that the Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.”
If that sounds too much like a generic mission statement, the vision could be further located and defined by saying something like, “Through the practice of my preaching, the people of _____________ Church will be lead to hear from God in growing numbers and deepening ways such that the ____________ Church is increasingly recognized as a compelling and fruitful manifestation of the Kingdom God on earth as it is in heaven.”
If even that sounds like something any preacher could say, it might be more useful to focus on a micro vision for the preaching that we offer. What about this particular sermon? What is our vision for the specific sermon that I expect to preach this Sunday? Could I describe the intended outcome of the preaching of this sermon? Could I describe how things will change because we all have invested energy in listening to God in this particular moment?
“As God’s people at ___________ Church listen to God as he speaks by his Spirit through our study of how Word as it is found in (specific text), we will together be compelled to ____________________________________________ such that individual lives are _________________, our relationships are ______________________, and our community is _____________________.”
This is obviously just a broad example. The wording doesn’t matter greatly. The main concern is that the preacher gives some attention to trying to visualize the outcome of the preaching of this sermon.
Great athletes talk about the value of visualization – rehearsing in advance an inner visual picture of a preferred eventual result. Preachers, also, need to pre-hearse their expectation for their preaching. If we do not have some idea where we are going with this, it will be difficult for us to take our people there.
This is, perhaps, another way of talking about ‘application.’ Preaching has to go beyond the mere expression of ideas. But preaching also has to go beyond the abstract. Preaching has to land. We need to lead people to actual response in real time. Describing a vision for our sermons, is a way of holding ourselves accountable to a way of preaching that results in tangible results.
If we can see it, we might be able to describe it. If we can describe it, we might be able to achieve it.