Preaching with Impact

Having established the subtle, though important, differences between application and impact we will now turn our attention to a fuller treatment of what this impact might look like. It is crucial to recognize that personal and congregational impact comes in all shapes and sizes. The sequential movement from selection and contextualization of a preaching text to Christological application of that text to personal impact gleaned from that text ought to happen chronologically during sermon preparation but it need not flow chronologically during sermon delivery. That is, as the preacher works through a text with a congregation he may find it helpful to take a point in the text and immediately bridge to Christ and then to the congregation without having finished all of his contextualization. This is fine so long as the preacher has been diligent in his study and he is wise in his delivery. I mention this here in order to introduce freedom of style and homiletic preference. This methodology is not meant to be dogmatic about delivery but rather constructive for preparation. There is no one-size-fits-all because all preachers are different and all congregations are different. The Holy Spirit must guide a preacher and every preacher must trust entirely the active work and power of the Holy Spirit.

We can and should be impacted in three primary ways: intellectually, emotionally, and practically. All three are spiritual and necessary for a full Christian life. No matter how a sermon is crafted and delivered it is important for the preacher to continually affirm in his own conscience and by his own preparation that the Word of God is to impact the mind, the heart, and the hands. All three are required for a balanced Christian walk and all three are evident in faithful preaching. As we will see, it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to separate intellectual impact from emotional and practical impact. The three coexist in a dependent relationship that is not easily deconstructed so long as the preacher is faithful to the Biblical text.

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