I just got off a long phone call with a young man who is almost done with his seminary education.  He has visited churches I have pastored over the years, and wanted to know today if I could teach him to preach the way I preach.

While I am flattered to a degree, I had to tell him, “No!”  He is not the first to ask that question, and I have answered the same each time.  I am unable to help someone preach like me … since I am the only me I know!

But … and there always seems to be a but … I can help them develop their own style!

When I was in the seminary (eons ago), I took several homiletic classes (how to preach).  In addition I had a sermon delivery class where I was trained to speak in stained glass tones and pronounce God this way, “Gaawwwd”.

This was well and good … if I wanted to preach like everyone else.  But early on in life I learned from a wise teacher that there was only one me and that I should just be the best me that God wired me up to be.

As I look back, I see that God wired me up with a certain amount of organizational ability (I think in outlines for the most part), I like to read (and read a lot and read very fast), I am good at redacting  (taking a variety of materials and pulling it all together), I love words … and of course I love His Word!  At heart, I am not a very pastoral person, but more of a teacher (and some would say, apostolic).  And surprise, surprise to some people, I am an introvert.

All of this is to say, you need to know who you are, how God wired you, your temperament, your spiritual giftedness, your basic personality, your background, the joys and sorrows, etc.

If you are a teacher … teach!

If you are “touchy-feel” … express your emotions … get close to people

If you are funny … be funny!

If you are a story teller … tell stories!

One of the “worst” mistakes I made when I first left the seminary, was to think the church needed another Ozzie Hoffman or Billy Graham … and after a while someone like John Maxwell or Bill Hybels.  It took just one conference about a year into my first church to reinforce the notion that I was none of these … nor should I be.  As best as I remember the conference speaker said:


“Discover your God-given spiritual gifts, personal style, and ministry passion for serving in and through the body of Christ. As a result, you will be equipped to fulfill God’s purposes … having a greater ministry enthusiasm and impact … serving with more affirmation, love and commitment … competently using your spiritual gifts in the areas of your ministry passion … avoiding ministry stress, boredom and burnout … expanding ministries and extending the church’s reach into the community.”

Today, I am extremely comfortable in my own skin.  I know who God made me be.  I work the Word and the Word works me (learned that from Harry Wendt), and I let the text do the talking … and let it flow through the person created me to be.  You would do well to do the same!