Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos
Every preacher should be growing in their preaching ability. It is a gift that is to be nurtured. And there are able teachers available. One of the great benefits we have in our age, which did not exist in previous ages, is our ability to hear men from far away at the touch of a button. A good preacher will willing listen to other preachers and seek to nurture the gift given to him.
I have no doubt that some of the most gifted preachers in our time, as in every other age, are unknown outside their local congregations and immediate context. And because I don’t know them, I can’t point to them. Therefore, when I think of some of the gifted expository preachers of our day, the men below are those who come to mind. They all preach according to their own personality and makeup. And this is part of what makes them effective, so preachers don’t try to imitate some of the things they do. However, there are things that a preacher, who is always trying to grow in preaching can learn from them. (And every Christian seeking to grow in the faith would benefit from having these preachers on their iPods and iPads for regular listening).
Their sermons are all marked by the following qualities: attention to the text, it is clearly drawn from the passage they are proclaiming, hard theological wrestling in the background, they do not shy away from hard teachings, are Christ focused, God-exalting, and usually excellent in application. I appreciate all of them as preachers for these reasons. These are qualities that we should all seek in our preaching. And yet what sets these preachers apart is not only these qualities, but what they each uniquely excel in. And it is these qualities that I want to draw our attention to. What they uniquely excel at are areas that all preachers would benefit from encouraging in their own preaching:
Derek Thomas–Dr. Thomas’ sermons do that which is seemingly difficult, but essential–his sermons tend to send the listener walking away contemplating God and focused upon Him. (Thomas sermons)
John Piper–When one thinks of Piper’s preaching, passion and sincerity have to be two of the first thoughts. His biblical preaching is always filled with energy and you know he believes what he is preaching. (Piper sermons)
Tim Keller–His sermons excel at clarity and engaging people in our current western culture. Many preachers are good exegetes of culture. Many are good exegetes of the text. It is not easy to be both, but Keller makes it look easy. (Keller sermons)
CJ Mahaney–There are few better at having sermons anchored with affection-stirring illustrations and pleading that is appropriate in calling lost sinners. (Mahaney sermons)
Sinclair Ferguson–The Scottish accent helps. Who doesn’t like a good Scottish accent? But a few minutes into the sermon you won’t find yourself thinking about Scotland. Ferguson’s sermons drip with theological richness, are always profound, and yet are simple to understand. That is a rare gift indeed! (Ferguson sermons)
Load up your iPod, take a walk, learn, and be blessed. And be a blessing to your people.