I just read a post from Steve Dilla called "Conceptually Speaking" (great title, by the way), and I wanted to share it with you. You can find it here.
In his post, he included the following quote from Erwin McManus: "people are not interested in sermons, they are interested in experiencing our experience with God."
He followed up Erwin's quote with this:
"Have you been changed by the Truth? If you have, you could sit down with me in any coffee shop, on any day, and tell me about that change - unprepared, unpracticed, just working verbally through what God is doing in your life. It is often the moment people experience the Holy Spirit working in someone else’s life that they long the most for it. It is when our public speaking comes full force from our spiritual journey that the doors swing wide open for life change."
WOW - really well said!
People won't take us seriously unless we speak from experience. Why should they? I wouldn't. Speaking from experience gives us a certain authority on the subject. I can dispute ideas and theories all day long - but when someone speaks from their own experience - from their heart - I am WAY more likely to care about what they are saying.
BUT - in order to speak from experience - my primary focus HAS to be on my personal relationship with God. Seems like a DUH right? In ministry, there are so many things that need to be done - that won't get done unless we do them - that our own spiritual health sometimes takes a backseat. When we make them our primary focus, we become less effective as influencers. When our primary focus is on God and knowing Him better and loving Him more - then we will be able to love and lead others in a real and powerful way.