Pastor Eric began as the Young Adult Pastor at Fountain City Wesleyan Church. He then moved to becoming the Campus Pastor for The Well, a satellite campus for FCWC. He is married to Heather with two children.
Here are some reasons why this sermon was highlighted:
- Eric energizes the room. As soon as Eric begins, you can tell that you he is excited to be there. It is not a burdensome duty to share the Word, but clearly a passionate joy. Flatline nonverbals (tone, pitch, pace, gestures) do send a message. Monotone or overly low key introductions will communicate to the audience that they do not need to listen. After all, this is just a matter of habit for the preacher. Since even the preacher is not excited to share what she has learned, the listener can check email or play candy crush. Eric shows through his voice, actions, and posture that he has great news to share with us.
- Eric tells a story that creates suspense. The story could have had several applications, but you will not know which one he is using it for unless you pay attention. This draws the congregation in, makes them eager to hear the application that is chosen. Sometimes, the fear of a sermons going wrong is just the thing you need to keep people with you while you make it go well. Even more important, Eric is inviting the congregation to look over his shoulder in the journey with the text. It is unfolding for the congregation is ways parallel to the way it probably unfolded for Eric.
- Eric goes beyond personal. He does not settle for only the personal story to supplement the Biblical story. Eventually, church-goers get tired of hearing story after story about the pastor or the pastor’s family or the pastor’s friends or the pastor’s adventures. Eric uses examples from contemporary culture that connect with the people and at the same time make his point clear.
- Eric shakes up the preaching formula. He does not read the text at the very beginning and then explain what it means throughout the rest of the sermon. Usually that is the best path to take (and we wish more preachers took it more often). In this sermon though, Eric explains his personal example and the modern example all before he read the Scripture that the sermon is coming from. Preachers are not required to follow the “formula” for each and every sermon. Actually, for some preachers waiting 15 minutes before they get to the text is their formula. And that is what they should shake up. To shake up your formula this week, you first have to figure out what your formula is..
- Eric uses extreme vocal variety. There are moments when Eric gets loud that makes people sit back, while at other times, he will lower his voice that they almost have to lean forward to hear what he is saying. This breaks up the pace of the sermon and keeps the congregation’s attention. While you need to be careful not to be so loud you appear angry, and to not be so soft people cannot hear, most preachers only use half of their pitch and volume ranges on their best day.
- Eric shows the humanity of the bible. He does not speak as if Daniel was a supernatural person that exercised faith beyond what we are capable of today. He lets the congregation know that they are capable of exercising the faith that Daniel had, accomplishing meaningful change in the world as a result, and being human at the same time. If we drain the humanity from the bible in order to present sanitized deity, we drain it of its power to connect. It connects because of its humanity.
What is your sermonic formula? Your preaching rut? How can you change it this week?
– Dave Ward and the Wesleyan Sermons team