Posts Tagged ‘preachers who yell’

Nobody likes to get yelled at.

Especially kids.

Many years ago, in my second pastorate, I was preaching one Sunday morning.

So the nursery workers could hear the service, someone installed a loudspeaker high on the nursery wall.  (I was always amazed that any parent put their child in that nursery because it smelled of gas.  We never did discover the source of the problem.)

Anyway, on this particular Sunday, I must have been passionate about some issue, because one of the little kids heard my voice, looked up at the speaker on the wall, and cried out:

“Don’t yell, God!”

I wonder how many people have been driven out of churches because the pastor yelled.

A pastor needs passion or people will fall asleep.

A pastor needs to vary his voice pitch to sound interesting.

A pastor needs to get excited every now and then.

But yelling?

I was scheduled to go to the dentist today, but my appointment has been postponed until next week.

Why is it that most people don’t like to go to the denist?

At least in my case, it’s not just the pain … I know I’ll leave that place alive.

I’m more afraid of the dentist yelling at me for not taking care of my teeth perfectly … even though I floss every day.

And I don’t like to get yelled at.

Let me share three reasons why pastors don’t need to yell when they preach:

First, yelling never makes a point more emphatic.

I once read about a pastor who took his notes into the pulpit with him.  In one place, he wrote, “Weak point.  Yell louder.”

My wife and I recently attended a church service where the pastor spoke a mile a minute during his message.  He sounded like former Lakers’ broadcaster Chick Hearn on steroids.

After the service, I told my wife, “He could have made his points more effectively if he had slowed down and spoken softer at times.”

I wish our politicians would quit yelling when they speak.  Maybe pastors can lead the way.

Second, yelling assumes that people aren’t listening. 

I’ll never forget the third sermon I ever preached.  (It was much better than the first two.)  It was on 1 Peter 4:8.  I went to my pastor that morning and asked him if it would be all right if I pounded the pulpit when I preached that night.

He said it was fine.

When I pounded the pulpit, I’m sure I felt better … but I’m not sure anyone else felt better.

Like many pastors, I once assumed that if I sensed I was losing people as I preached, I had to yell a bit to recapture their attention.

I no longer believe that … especially in a day when pastors use amplification when they speak!

Finally, yelling makes people feel that God is yelling at them, too.

I stay away from people who yell at me.  Most people act the same way.

And when a pastor yells at a congregation, some listeners – maybe most of them – sense that God is yelling at them, too.

That’s certainly the way the kid in the nursery reacted to me many years ago.

He so identified my voice with the voice of God that when I yelled, he thought God was yelling at him.

But doesn’t God also speak through a still small voice?  Elijah needed to learn that lesson.

I think the day of yelling preachers is long gone.  It doesn’t work anymore.

Passion is good.  Conviction is necessary.  Even an occasional rant is okay.

But yelling?

I agree with my small friend:

“Don’t yell, God!”

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