Thousands attended Spurgeon Tabernacle in London every Sunday to hear Charles Spurgeon preach. So many came that they sometimes had to turn people away. Yet, if you read (or listened to) some of his sermons today, you’d likely find them verbose. Why? Communication styles change. What appealed to people then, may not resonate in the same way today.
But, before you toss older sermons aside, hold on a moment. They still hold great value! Reading older messages helps me get inside the mindset of former preachers. You discover how they related to their audiences, when and how they used illustrations, and the transitions they made from one point to another.
That’s why I’ve told many, “Old preachers help me more than old messages.” Learning the way famed preachers like Spurgeon communicated to the people of his day can help you become a more effective communicator to the people of our day.
I often recommend Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students. He addresses so many things helpful for effective communication—the prayer life of a preacher, choosing a text, voice inflection, posture and gestures, illustrations and anecdotes, etc. Learning how to think helps us become more effective communicators of divine truth.
Once more, old sermons may not be so helpful to you. Old preachers are!