Preaching and Pastoral Theology. See whole series of “Enriching your Preaching through Theological Reflection“)
Pastoral theology – a perspective on all theological reflection that towers constantly over the entire discussion, it focuses constantly on the applicability of the word of God to the people of God. (It should not be thought of as a separate discipline)
How should pastoral theology shape our preaching? 10 exhortations.
- Cultivate compassion. The sermon is never to be an end in itself.
- Cultivate an understanding people and their needs in biblical categories.
- Cultivate a knowledge of the diversity of people in your church – e.g. William Perkins in The Art of Prophesying; don’t make all your illustrations from your family and stage of life.
- Cultivate a prepared mind and heart for the turning point in people’s lives. Marriages, births, dating and singleness, diseases, crises, deaths.
- Cultivate a rapid, automatic, and reflexive turn to Jesus. This will keep you from secularism and psychological analysis that never gets to Jesus Christ and the cross. Secularism doesn’t eliminate biblical truth, it just seeks to put it to the periphery.
- Cultivate connections between lofty thoughts of God and profound understanding of doctrine and people. Think and care for people.
- Cultivate the ability to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those rejoice.
- Cultivate prudential wisdom that refuses to give too much time to bottomless pit parishioners. They are a badge of honor in the church of the living God. But you are not to empty your life into them. Don’t do it. You are called to feed the flock of God. That means study, reflection, meditation, disciplined prayer. You can give them so much time but no more. Pit the members with the gift of handholding with bottomless pit members.
- Cultivate a healthy independence from your congregation. As a preacher, you must fear God and fear no other. This enables you to say what Go wants you to say.
- Cultivate your own maturation. Your progress should be demonstrable.