Recovering Wesleyan Preaching Essentials
I’m indebted to Shane Raynor for the above link. Although it’s aimed at United Methodist preachers, there’s something here for all Wesleyans, including Nazarenes. The author shares some of the history of early Methodist preaching, which revived nations and helped shape American pop culture.
Wesley was a scholar extraordinaire, but in the preaching moment he lit up like a Christmas tree and thousands gathered to watch him burn with holy passion.
Among the more interesting observations is that Wesleyan preaching was/should be more heart-to-heart than head-to-head. How it had/can have a decision or transforming experience as its goal. He also shares how Wesley & others might focus on a single phrase from Scripture, but bring it right into the daily experience of people.
This contrasts with the image many have had of Wesley and it’s worth reflecting on. The author also shares practical preaching insights from Henri Nouwen (not a Weleyan), which provide excellent ethical questions for preachers.
All of the points add up to greatly valuing the experience of the listener. Maybe our pulpits and furniture arrangements and bookshelves have shaped an academic, preacher-centered view that misses the mark in the pew-chairs: transformed lives. Can we reconsider our whole approach? Should we watch some video of ourselves to discover the dull patterns which need refreshing? If we’re going to keep preaching, why not invest our hearts and our bodies fully into those moments? What would it take to rekindle a fire in us people would want to experience for themselves?