LONDON – Speaking at the Keswick Convention, the Rev. Stephen Gaukroger said preachers needed to be "thoroughly biblical" but also bear in mind that "they are not giving an Old Testament lecture in a theological college."
"People's souls have to be fed – it has to be applied," he said. "On the other hand, you don't want someone to stand up with a bunch of jokes and a few applications."
"Why should we believe them, unless it is grounded in Scripture? So we have to have both attractive skills in communication but deep commitment to rigorous Bible teaching."
Gaukroger is the director of Clarion Trust International, a Christian charity, and a senior church leader in the United Kingdom,
He believes there are very few people as gifted in preaching as they believed themselves to be.
"'We have lots of people in our churches who desperately need help in their preaching – help to be attractive, to be biblical and to be good communicators."
Gaukroger said he believed there were less good preachers in churches today than 25 years ago.
"Finding someone who can hold the attention of three thousand people over an extended period of time is very difficult," he said. "But don't let anyone tell you that a speaker can't hold someone's attention for more than ten or fifteen minutes.
"My kids have introduced me to an alternative comedian – this guy goes onto a platform for 50 minutes, talks about life, and has people weeping with laughter."
"If one person can do that," he said, "I don't see why you can't do that for Jesus' sake and talk about the Gospel. But it really does depend on gifting."