They say that, “Variety is the spice of life” and this is especially true of preaching. It’s very easy to get into a routine (think rut) with our preaching and miss the impact that variety can have on our audience and also on us in our preparation. I read a Thom Rainer awhile back called ” 6 Preaching Methods Jesus Used and You Should Too” and I thought I would share each element with you and add resources that will help drive each point home.
4. Jesus Asked Questions
Rather than tell everyone the answer right away, Jesus used the Socratic Method. He led His audience to conclusions by asking a lot of questions. For examples check out Matthew 16:26, or 22:20-21. Questions are a powerful teaching method, especially when teaching a hostile crowd (like unbelievers). Questions stimulate critical thinking. Asking good questions makes the audience hungry to find the answers. If you want to preach like Jesus, ask a lot of questions. Do not reveal the answer immediately. Help your audience use their own brains.
“A pedagogical technique in which a teacher does not give information directly but instead asks a series of questions, with the result that the student comes either to the desired knowledge by answering the questions or to a deeper awareness of the limits of knowledge.” (Socratic Method)
- Creates dialogue with your audience
- Causes tension
- Creates a hole in their knowledge
I was asked just yesterday if there was a way to put more discussion time into our Sunday messages. I regularly ask questions of the congregation and get direct feedback from them. People love it and you can see how they become more engaged in the message. Obviously, depending on your tradition or size asking questions in that way may not be feasible but you could ask a question and have people raise their hands in response or have them turn to their neighbour and share the answer to the question.
What would work for you? Not sure? Try a couple of ideas and see if one brings the place to life.
To help you think through what kind of questions to ask in your own sermons check out Dave Arch’s article “Ask Questions Like The Master Teacher”
Here’s to asking better questions.