Monday, May 23, 2016

New Evangelizers Post: The Preacher Trap

I have a new article up at  

A little while ago I wrote about “The Teacher Trap” where teachers of the faith place themselves morally above those that they teach.

But there is another aspect to this vein of corruption that I like to call The Preacher Trap.
This goes beyond the usual problem of hypocrisy where we do not practice what we preach. All of us fall short of this in one way or another.

No, here I am talking particularly about those who have been given the charism of actual preaching in the same way that others may have been given the charism of teaching. While there is a great deal of overlap between the two, they have a fundamental distinction.

Teaching involves helping people know and understand certain moral or religious precepts. Preaching primarily is about moving a person with words towards the Kingdom of God.
Another way to look at it is that teaching is aimed at the head and preaching is aimed at the heart. One involves the gift of clarity, the other involves the gift of rhetoric. Again, these often overlap, but I’m sure we’ve all encountered good teachers who were not good preachers and good preachers that were not very good teachers.

So here I am dealing with those who seek to move the hearts of men and women by the power of their words. The impact of this type of speaking cannot be overstated. Maya Angelou once said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This points to the lasting impact a powerful preacher can have.

In my own life, I can look to its turning point when I encountered Fr. Larry Richards. His ministry as a preacher cut through me like a sword and broke open the hardness of my heart. I know hundreds, if not thousands, of people who could say the same thing of him. In the preacher there is great power.

But in that power there is always great danger.

You can read the entire article here.

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