Jesus Shocked People When He Preached and You Should Too
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 post 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.
2. Jesus Shocked People
“Jesus often used hyperbole. He taught using outrageous examples, exaggerations and shocking statements that got people’s attention. These statements were not all meant to be taken literally, but they definitely got the point across. For example Jesus didn’t really mean we have to rip out our eyes and amputate our hands for causing us to sin (Matthew 5:29-30), or else all Christians would be blind amputees.
He also didn’t mean that the people he spoke to literally had logs in their eyes (Matthew 7:3-5). Jesus was simply making a very clear point. Jesus said things that shocked people and exaggerated the truth to emphasize His point. If you want to preach like Jesus, shock people. Exaggerate a little with your questions. Say outrageous things that aren’t meant to be literal, but grab attention and communicate the point clearly.”
“Shock value is the potential of an action (as a public execution), image, text, or other form of communication to provoke a reaction of sharp disgust, shock, anger, fear, or similar negative emotions.”
When you live in a world of “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” it’s very difficult to shock people. Pastors sometimes try the shock treatment to gain attention but to me much of it falls short. Remember the: “Make love to your spouse for 30 days in a row trend?”
When Jesus shocked people it was to make a point and further his message. If they just remember the hook but not the point, what is the point?
When I think of shocking people in preaching I’m not thinking of a gimmick or something outlandish just to get attention.
Here are some thoughts.
1) Shock By Simplicity
In probably 85-90% of the funerals I have presided over this situation repeats itself. At the end of the service or at the reception someone will walk up to me in amazement and say, “I understood everything you said.” This is certainly not a testament to my ability as much as a sign of the less than adequate preaching they have heard in the past. They didn’t expect to go to a funeral and the message make sense to them. Isn’t that sad?
Keep It Simple:
- A simple outline people can follow
- A simple vocabulary unless you take time to explain all those theological words you love to use.
- A simple “Big Idea”
“If there’s a mist in the pulpit there will be a fog in the pew.”
2) Shock By Transparency
“Once your people trust you, it is amazing how their hearts become open to the truths you are preaching.” (Dr. Jim Schettler)
I think we underestimate how shocking transparency from the pulpit can be especially with non churchgoers. Many people still have the idea that the preacher is there to tell you what you are doing wrong. Imagine the trust you earn when you share what you have done wrong and the failures you have had in your life. We’re not talking therapy session here but shining light on your less than perfect life will be truly shocking for many who sit under your ministry on a Sunday.
Craig Groeschel has some great thoughts when it comes to bringing yourself into the message including answering the following questions as you preach:
- How has the text affected you?
- How have you failed in the area the Scripture addresses?
- What about the text makes you uncomfortable?
“The scriptures are given not to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives.”
~Dwight L. Moody