Authenticity is central to a successful ministry. Amazing things happen when we are true to ourselves, experiences, context, and core values. That’s why it’s so important that you bring your personality to the podium whenever you preach. Why? Because your personality can be a superpower. God is the ultimate superpower and His guidance is number one, of course. However, your own identity is directly attached to your purpose in ministry. These preaching tips will help you unlock the power of your personality while preaching.
God gave you a purpose.
Jesus’ last words before ascending to heaven were, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:17-20). Your calling is found in the Great Commission. Simple as that. We all share the same commission, just in different contexts.
You achieve your purpose by embracing your personality.
Your purpose probably does not play out in a megachurch auditorium, worldwide conferences, or even easy-to-tweet sermon takeaways. We understand this, but we don’t always live it. It’s easy to embody (and possibly even copy) the top 1% of Christian leaders. We try to speak like them. We try to tell stories similar to theirs. Sometimes We may even try to dress like them. Their wisdom can be helpful when applied but harmful when copied.
We can learn a lot from other pastors, but we can learn even more from our own personalities. They can’t share a meal with rural students in your community. You can. They won’t be able to sit in a hospital room and pray for someone after a depressing diagnosis. You can. Their messages may be amazing, but you get to make the gospel more relatable to your own context. How incredible is that?
Your individual personality is made up of the unique gifts, experiences, stories, setbacks, and quirks that God gave you. God gave you a unique personality and attached it to your purpose.
The purpose is the why. Your personality is the how. It sounds like cheesy dating advice, but God wants you to be you. He made only one of you, with your talents, personality, appearance, and gifts, then he broke the mold. You’re the only one. When you are secure in your identity, you are catapulted to your calling.
So how do we bring more personality into our preaching? These preaching tips will help you create a strategy around your personality.
1. Share your stories.
Personal stories are the best way to bring personality into your preaching. When someone hears a story, their guard goes down and their interest peaks. This is why humans have been sharing them from the dawn of time. Whether it’s gathered around a campfire or from behind a podium, narrative helps people connect to the message.
Stories help us understand ourselves while also helping our audience connect with the message. They catalyze empathy, connectivity, and community. Be sure to share your own stories whenever you speak, as it helps your people learn more about you and engage with your heart.
2. Share your successes.
Mirror the spiritual success you want to see in your group. If you want your students to grow, then it’s important to show them what it looks like to grow. Practically, not theoretically. Consistently celebrate all that God is doing in your life. Has your prayer life improved? Preach on that. Have your relationships experienced awakening? Let them know. Have you seen growth due to small steps of obedience? Lay that out for them.
Be careful not to come across as prideful while doing this. People just want to relate to a real person overcoming real life issues. Be optimistic, but not arrogant. Always express your success stories as a testament to God’s work, not your own accomplishments.
3. Share your shortcomings.
While students will learn from your success, they will learn even more from your struggles and setbacks. Actually, share the challenges you’ve faced. Lead from a place of vulnerability and honesty. Did you struggle to grow spiritually for a season? Invite them into that experience. Did you learn something about scripture during your study? Explain something that you didn’t know before. Vulnerability is the perfect bridge to connection.
If you want to be relatable, you need to be vulnerable. While these intentional moves seem small, they will make a significant impact on your trustworthiness. It shows you’re self-aware, always learning, and open to own your shortcomings. When you mirror this, your culture will begin to embody it.
4. Celebrate your Savior.
We want Jesus to radically change lives. Celebrate how He’s changed yours every single time you step onto the stage. While salvation has the same spiritual meaning across the board, there are countless individual connotations for you. What did Jesus save you from? Where were you and where are you going now? How is the Spirit blowing your mind lately? Answer these questions whenever you preach or teach.
Every story should be about Jesus. Every success should be about Jesus. Even our shortcoming overcome should be about Jesus. Even your gifts, experiences, and talents came from Jesus. Celebrate him in everything you do. As we often say, celebration breeds replication. Honest, heart-filled celebration makes our message contagious.
This resource was made to compliment our Pastor Circle teaching on Authenticity in Ministry. Learn more about The Pastor Circle: A Virtual Small Group for Church Leaders by clicking here.