Chapter 34

Self-Disclosure That Glorifies Christ

Transparent preaching aims to reveal the light, not the window

Observing college students and their reactions to various preachers has been an education for me. Students want to know if the preacher is a fellow struggler or someone who lives on a different planet.

They can quickly sense a "Bible bureaucrat" or someone speaking from a pedestal of perceived perfection, and their hearts shut down. But let them see the reality of a preacher's pilgrimage, and they willingly follow.

But self-disclosure is tricky. Some kinds of confessional preaching erode respect. If in any way self-disclosure lessens our congregation's confidence and respect, we should work on those issues privately. Indiscriminate revelation may diminish our greatest ministry, that of cutting a godly wake by the example of our lives.

Paul's counsel to Timothy helps chart the course for keeping our transparency constructive. In 1 Timothy 4:12, he urges Timothy to live a life that is an example. Paul is quick to indicate that he is not asking Timothy to live a perfect ...

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