As a communicator to students, you are a unique mix of personality, passion, and spiritual giftedness. The goal is not to preach in the style of Andy Stanley, Steven Furtick, Craig Groeschel, or Tim Keller, but to speak in the way that God has wired you to speak. Seek to continue to develop your strengths as a communicator, while being mindful of your weaknesses and blind-spots. In essence, become the style of preacher that God has created YOU to be.
That being said, just as there are four basic personality-types (think Myers-Briggs, DISC, or Hartman’s personality colors) that mix together to create your unique personality, there are four basic preaching styles that mix together to shape your approach as a communicator.
THE FOUR BASIC PREACHING TYPES
1. The Teacher. [Biblical Example: The Apostle Paul]
- Loves to study and research the details and background of a passage.
- More interested in helping students understand the Bible and growing as disciples.
- May have spiritual gifts of teaching, apostleship, leadership, or shepherding.
- Primary goal is COMPREHENSION – Students growing in their knowledge of God and understanding of Biblical truth or doctrine.
2. The Encourager [Biblical Example: Barnabus]
- Loves to find Scripture that meets a specific need.
- More interested in helping students see how Bible applies to their life and bringing healing.
- May have spiritual gifts of exhortation, shepherding, teaching, or mercy.
- Primary goal is CONSOLATION – Students discovering healing, hope, and encouragement through God and His Word.
3. The Prophet [Biblical Example: Agabus]
- Loves to pray and determine the Biblical Word for the moment.
- More interested in exposing sin and challenging students to obey God.
- May have spiritual gifts of prophecy, teaching, apostleship, or leadership.
- Primary goal is CONVICTION – Students confessing and repenting of sin and being strengthened in their walk with Jesus Christ.
4. The Evangelist [Biblical Example: Philip]
- Loves to proclaim the Gospel every time they speak.
- More interested in students committing their lives to Jesus and being saved.
- May have spiritual gifts of evangelism, apostleship, leadership, or missionary.
- Primary goal is CONVERSION – Students hearing the Gospel and making a decision to follow Jesus.
PRIMARY MOTIVATORS FOR EACH PREACHING STYLE
Each of the four preaching types is motivated by a couple of core values. Depending on your spiritual giftedness, life experience, and personality, you will tend to lean one way or another on these two axis:
- Appealing to REASON versus appealing to EMOTION.
- Emphasizing the TRUTH of God versus emphasizing the GRACE of God.
Visually, the two axis form a grid:
Depending on how you classified yourself earlier, place a dot somewhere in one of the four boxes, and this will give you an idea of which type of preacher you are. Typically, you will be a mix of two of the preaching styles (examples: EVANGELIST/teacher, PROPHET/encourager, ENCOURAGER/evangelist, etc) with one of the preaching types being DOMINANT and the other style being secondary.
What type of preacher are you? Comment below and share…