Preaching is hard work.
To those sitting in the pews, preaching can look relatively effortless–especially when it is done well. But do not be fooled. Preaching exhausts the body and the soul in ways that are incommensurate with its duration. I could work in the yard all day in 90 degrees of heat and (somehow) feel less exhausted than preaching two services.
But, it is not just the physical/spiritual toll that preaching takes. What makes it hard is the complexity of the task. Just standing up and talking for 30 minutes (and making any sense at all) is tough enough for most folks. But, on top of this, preachers have to navigate a complicated passage, balance sensitive doctrines, weave together a coherent message, apply the message to people’s lives, and do all of this in a manner that is compelling, engaging, winsome and never boring or dull.
No wonder James said, “Not many of you should become teachers” (Jas 3:1)!
Indeed, because of the complexities of preaching there are a number of pitfalls that all preachers (especially aspiring ones) risk falling into. I thought it might be helpful to highlight some of these possible pitfalls that I have noticed over the years: