PreachingToday.com: Would you agree that preaching must go beyond being true, to also being inspiring?
John Ortberg: Someone had asked the president of the country's largest speakers' bureau what was the most important characteristic a person needs to be an effective communicator. I expected her to answer, "Articulation." Or maybe, "Intelligence." To my surprise, she answered, "They have to have passion."
She explained that people with passion can overcome any other obstacle, such as a limited vocabulary or even a speech impediment. If they have an authentic passion, they tap into something contagious, something that feeds and inspires the human spirit. Conversely, if communicators don't have authentic passion, they may have great technique or phrasing, but their listeners will only tread water.
Preaching, of course, is much more than communication. It is a God-inspired act. But what is true for human communication in general is certainly true for preaching in particular: it has to inspire. ...