You and I represent the church of God. The building is just four walls that house the body of Christ. We are the Church! Growing up as a preacher’s kid I learned that preaching a sermon can be difficult but there’s nothing worse than listening to a preacher preach without substance and without relying on the Holy Spirit. There have been times where I left hearing a sermon unfulfilled and empty. Have you ever listened to a preacher preach about nothing but try to get you to shout? Have you ever experienced a preacher dismiss with no call to worship? Have you ever felt pimped in service? Here are some ways to know if a preacher is preaching to walls and not you.
1. There’s no call to the altar. I feel one of the most important elements of being in the house of God is having the opportunity to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked into a church service and walked out wondering why the altar wasn’t open to those who needed it. A preacher’s job is to convict the soul and turn hearts toward Christ.
The altar is the one place where change can literally take place. The altar is the place where people receive healing and chains are broken. The altar has significance. The Greek word for altar is thusiasterion which means, “a place of sacrifice.” In the days of old, altars were a place of exchange, communication and influence. It is the place where God and human nature meet, creating such an exchange that allows for purity and freedom through sacrifice.
Once a decree has been given and the word of God has been brought forth, the call to the altar should be presented as the time and place where interaction between you and God is encouraged. The altar should be a place people run to, not run from. But because we fail to preach the importance of sacrifice and the meaning of the altar, our churches die. I’m a firm believer that our churches would grow if there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that went from the pulpit to the altar. The preacher can’t be the only one anointed. That anointing should flow throughout the four walls of the church influencing change and hope. If preachers don’t present an opportunity for people to be saved, then I’m wondering what was the point of the message.
2. More concerned about raising an offering than saving souls. Have you ever been to a service where after a preacher preached, he/she immediately tells you to reach into your pockets and sow a seed? Not just any seed, your BEST seed. It’s as if they want you to go broke! Now I understand that giving is necessary but it becomes a problem for me when the altar call is replaced by an auction call. Some services even host an offering demanding money lines for those who are giving the most. It’s frustrating to see that our churches have adapted to this method of pimping the church, having them to believe the Word of God and the one preaching it can be bought. The objective of the Christian preacher is to save souls and bring people to Christ.
There’s nothing wrong with having an offering but when we are taught to sacrifice our money for other’s financial gain and not taught to sacrifice ourselves to die to Christ first, then we have just lost the church. Preachers are not to preach for money. Paul said it best to the Phillipian church who took care of him while preaching in their city. He says that he has learned to live with much and with little and goes on to say that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him (Phillipians 4:11-13). Paul understood that the Word of God wouldn’t be well received everywhere and was content with knowing that his job wasn’t to have financial gain but to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. There are Christian preachers who die for preaching Jesus; who risk their lives to save people from living in sin. It’s not an act you put on to bamboozle the people of God to be famous. Preaching is not some entertainment show where we give money based on the level of heightened emotion we feel during and after. Preaching the Word of God is where you die to self leaving room for God to work through to save the lives of his people.
3. Lack of preparation. The bible states in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourself approved by God…” We are called to allow the Word of God to master us. Many times we try to master the Word which leaves us knowing an abundance of scriptures but with no power or conviction in our delivery. When we allow the Word to master us, we become submissive to the will of God, trusting His wisdom to guide us to all truth. Preparation is necessary in advancing the Kingdom of God but it is important to note that relying solely on the knowledge of God is not enough.
Preachers must preach under the influence of the Holy Spirit in order to have the power to convert people to Christ, convict souls and heal the broken-hearted. Preparation is not just studying the Word of God but it’s preparing your mind and body to submit to God’s will. It’s a private matter that should show itself externally. There are preachers who preach sermons just to simply make you shout. I call them, “feel good messages.” Though it has its place, it shouldn’t be the go to message but it is simply because they failed to prepare the people with sound biblical knowledge and conviction. It’s crazy to me how we measure how good a preacher is based on his/her ability to make us shout. Shouting with no conviction is like a person getting wet but not getting clean. We must understand that preachers have a strong mandate over their lives to lead us closer to God. I see too many preachers preaching for fame and glory, competing for a spot on the grandest stage hoping to get rich and have the next mega ministry. Preaching the Word of God is not for the walls of the church, it’s for those who make up the church. The message is for YOU.