1. How do you clear your head before you start preach prepping?
One of the things I’ve found hard but managed to do is to give myself time. They say ‘clear diary, clear head’ .. if I look at my diary and I’ve got lots of things going on such as travelling, meetings, doing outreach, seeing friends and then I look at when I’m going to speak and the time I have to prepare and I don’t see clear blocked out spaces my mind starts to become foggy and other things come in, like worry, doubt, will I hear from God? And this is important because you need time to hear from God, you need time to settle yourself, be in the word and what you sense the Lord wants to say through it. I pray all the way through the process, prayer is key.
2. To what extent do you expect and measure transformation in the congregation as a result of your preaching?
It depends on the topic. Whether it’s a preach to call people to actively do something, sometimes I will get people to stand up, or take a step forward as a response to the message. I also measure it through hearing people’s testimonies after the talk and ultimately seeing people’s lives transformed. We preach because the word is alive and it transforms lives. Revelation is caught, not taught.
3. In what ways do you expect the Holy Spirit to be present before you preach?
I am so expectant! We don’t bring the message, we are the message. I think so many preachers are caught up in bringing a message and giving it but they are not living it, so they never have any stories of what the Lords been doing that week. I expect to be moved to action when I open his word and I invite the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart. I often cry when the Holy Spirit comes upon me. I know the words are coming alive and I just know things are happening.
4. In what ways do you expect the Holy Spirit to be present during your preach?
I believe every time I get up to speak the Holy Spirit is with me. I believe His presence is hovering in the room touching, stirring and igniting people. That’s why I don’t script my talks and I do this intentionally. Firstly, it’s not my character, and secondly I get a sense of where God is going during preparation. I believe the Holy Spirit will take over at times in the preach because God has pinpointed someone in a crowd. I have found when I have latched onto His truth it naturally pours out of me because it becomes part of who I am. I find that in churches with preaching it can become a monologue and there isn’t that trust that the Holy Spirit is going to do something.
5. In what ways do you expect the Holy Spirit to be present after your preaching?
Giving space right after a talk for God to move is one part of this where you can see God moving there and then through prayer, silence, or words of knowledge and the list goes on.. And then there’s the other side I expect the Holy Spirit to protect me and guide me because I can experience attacks from the enemy after, for example through pride or frustration if I didn’t see anything happen. I can feel vulnerable after a talk, and it’s important I go straight back to God because it’s about him and not my preach.
6. What’s the best preaching advice you’ve ever been given?
Read yourself full, write yourself clear and pray yourself hot.
7. What’s your favorite thing about preaching God’s word?
I heard a quote once ‘preaching is God’s truth mediated through personality’ and I love that because I can share what God’s showing me through the ways of being ‘Zeke’ – the freeing thing is that God has made us and we can be ourselves, we can communicate in our own way so that’s my favorite thing. It’s also an honour to be able to share God’s word, because we are feeding God’s sheep. I also love studying the bible.
8. In what ways do you use the bible in your preaching?
The bible is essential, I use the bible in every way – it’s also full of stories, poems, illustrations and ideas. So I use the bible every chance I get, I let the bible soak into me, and let the bible guide me and show me where I need to go. The bible is the truth, we don’t come to subject or what culture is saying – we come to the bible and we release that into the culture. The word of God doesn’t change.
9. What does your study of the word look like during preach prepping?
Reading yourself full is so important! I will read the passage a few times, I will take notes on the passage, I’ll read the passages around it – I want to also understand the context. I’ll read books, commenterys, understanding what other theologians have said about it is also really important.
10. How do you come up with the relevant illustrations and stories for your preach?
For me personally I find it so valuable to share my own illustrations and stories. So stuff that’s going on in my life. If you are talking about something and not sharing your own heart, I just think it’s a bit dead. Ultimately I invite Holy Spirit into that space, show me a picture, or a story Lord! And I will actively look out for what God says through my week. Someone said to me once if it’s got no illustrations in it don’t even bother bringing the message – so I always make sure they are in there, and also making them appropriate to the audience.