Last week I started a sequence of posts that include observations at this point in my life and ministry. In talking about preaching, I said, “Be yourself . . . Don’t mimic the manner or channel the personality of other preachers. Develop your own characteristic style, rhythm, and sense of humor. Be who God made you to be.”
I didn’t use this terminology, but I was describing what is known as “finding your voice.” I’m not referring to your physical, audible voice. This use of the word “voice” refers to your unique manner of expression. Many dictionaries (online, at least) don’t include this definition, but I found one that does, albeit the 8th and last entry:
- The distinctive style or manner of expression of an author or of a character in a book.(http://www.thefreedictionary.com/voice)
I’m applying this idea, not to communicating through written words, but through speaking, especially preaching.
I think when you’re younger as a preacher you feel like you have to fit a certain mold. Your idea of how to communicate may come from your training in a homiletics class, from observing certain preachers you respect or who seem to be effective, or from other sources. As you mature, you should develop your own speaking style, manner of expression, sense of humor, and way of connecting with the audience.
Philips Brooks defined preaching as “Truth through personality.” Of course, preaching should give voice primarily to the text of Scripture you are preaching. But because of the nature of preaching, that truth is voiced through the preacher’s personality.
In my next post I’ll share some more observations at this milestone in life and ministry, on Ministry and Churches.