Author and Pastor David Platt encouraged those attending the Advance13 Christian leadership conference on Thursday to fully saturate their weekly sermons with the word of God, rather than their personal stories, so that the Good News may be proclaimed "in the church, and through the church."
Platt, who leads The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., began Thursday's talk at the Advance13 leadership conference in Raleigh, N.C., by recalling a pastor who once showed up to deliver a sermon and told the crowd that he couldn't think of anything to say, and therefore failed to deliver God's Word.
"Effective preaching is not dependent on an innovative personality, effective preaching is dependent on a faithful preacher," Platt said, noting that the most effective way to saturate one's congregation with God's Word is to pull directly from the Gospel.
"We, as pastors, need less of our quips, less of our stories, and more of God's grace," Platt told the crowd.
Sometimes, Christian leaders can become so absorbed in their own method of teaching that they forget that God is the real leader of the Gospel, he said. "Does your preaching on a week by week basis demonstrate the proper respect for the author of the universe? Does it demonstrate who God is?" Platt asked, adding that "only God can get the glory" for the words that come out of a preacher's mouth.
The most important aspect of focusing on the Gospel in one's sermons, according to Platt, is so that listeners may be saturated with the Good News and carry its message throughout their daily lives.
"Proclaim the Gospel in the church so the church will proclaim the Gospel in the world," Platt said, adding that "biblical discipleship occurs at the intersection of community and mission."
The young Alabama pastor said that "sermons delivered on a weekly basis that are woven in and out of the Gospel" result in "people every day having conversations woven in and out of the Gospel."
If preachers focus primarily on preaching God's Word, they cannot go wrong, as history shows that the most effective movements in Christianity come from the authority of the preacher, he said.
Platt went on to list five distinct "threads" of the Gospel that are ultimately woven into the "tapestry" of Good News, which ultimately proves unstoppable in reaching every corner of society. These threads, according to Platt, include the character of God, the sinfulness of man, the sufficiency of Christ, the necessity of faith, and the urgency of eternity.
By incorporating these five threads into one's weekly sermons, pastors will be more effective in fully saturating the Gospel on both a local, congregational level and a global, missionary level.
The pastor concluded his talk by encouraging Christian leaders to remember that it is God's infinite authority and grace that offers all believers salvation.
Instead of asking the question, "Why only one way back to God?" the question should be, "Why any way at all?" Platt pointed out.
Platt's talk on Thursday served as the last discussion of the the three-day Advance13 Christian leadership conference, the theme of which was "Building a Faithful and Effective Church."
Along with leading his congregation in Birmingham, Ala., Platt has also written the New York Times bestseller Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, as well as Radical Together – Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God.