Recently a friend who relocated to another city let me know that one of the big reasons she decided to stay at her current church is that for the first several weeks she attended that church, every sermon the pastor preached spoke directly to where her heart was.
I think we pastors can put too much emphasis on the quality of our verbal communication but sometimes what it boils down to is that God has been preparing someone’s heart and life to hear the words he gives us to preach. On any given Sunday I have no idea how someone is going to receive the sermon God’s given me to deliver, but I know that God has often orchestrated a happy collision between a person’s spiritual needs and the message that is scheduled for that day. Sometimes a visitor from out of town just passing through, who found us via a Google search, will tell me that their coming to our church was a divine appointment.
Reflections like this remind me not to put so much stock on the delivery of the message. The real emphasis needs to go into praying up every sermon, entrusting what happens to God’s orchestration, not my communication skills or verbal persuasiveness. In fact, it has been my experience that a hungry and open heart will forgive lackluster communication if what is spoken is what God wants that heart to hear.