1 Cor. 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
The first time I was asked to share a message at church, my first concern was how well I would do. Being a little bit of a perfectionist, preparation was key. I had heard so many other sermons and had my opinions of which ones were good and polished and which ones were not. Although I was certainly concerned about delivering a message that was scripturally accurate and correct, I must admit that my first concern was giving a good speech. I wanted to make sure my sermon was outlined and well-organized and that I chose the right words to say at the right times. I thought the power of my message would come from what I put into it instead of from the good news I was presenting.
A recent trend in ministry is the idea that the message being presented must be relevant to the audience. In some contexts, this may apply. For example, teaching fathers or mothers how to fill their roles in a godly manner would be messages specific to those audiences. However, the Gospel message is not one that must be tailored or edited for effect. The good news of Jesus Christ is always relevant and is relevant to all people. The manner in which we present the message does not determine whether it is effective. The power of the Holy Spirit is intrinsic to that message and independent of our efforts. We do not need fancy words to get the point across. What we need is to be open to the Spirit doing his work through us in that moment.
Personal charisma or good speaking ability should not be what keeps the people in their pews. We are charged with bringing the truth, not putting on a good performance. This does not mean that we should want to share the Gospel message in some haphazard and sloppy manner, but it does mean that our concern should be to keep the Gospel message pure. The story of our Savior is already sufficient in its power to draw in and transform people. There is absolutely nothing we could add to make this message any more powerful or effective. Father, give us the ability to share the good news with others in a way that is pure and powerful, free from our own design or plan.