What’s the Difference Between Preaching and Motivational Speaking?

This is from Sherman Cox‘s article “Are you a preacher or motivational Speaker?

“Some preaching that is considered great by many is nothing more than a motivational speech. It might be true, it might even be helpful. It may help you succeed at work. But too often all one has done is changed the title from the latest pop-psychologist’s seminar from “how to succeed” to “how to fulfill God’s purpose” where God’s purpose is defined as “succeeding in this life.”

It is almost rampant in some circles. In fact, some see this as the epitome of “relevant” preaching. The person comes and learns a skill or a mindset that will help them finally break the boundaries that keep them from that promotion. Maybe others finally decide to go back to school or change their career. Perhaps others find ways to become better planners and thus are more effective in their financial life. And then the preacher sits down. Sometimes the people shout, other times they sit there contemplating the message, but in too many cases what is missing greatly outweighs the benefits of these messages.

When a sermon is merely a motivational speech, what is missing? At least two things:”

He goes on to list:

1) The Cross

2) The Kingdom

He concludes:

“There is a time and place for the motivational speech, but if you as a preacher use up all of your time being simply another place, then you have not done your duty. For a preacher to degenerate into a facsimile of Oprah Winfrey or Tony Robbins is to step down from the height of speaking God’s words to humanity to speaking good advice gleaned from the best human thinkers.”

What’s are some factors that make speaking a sermon and not a motivational speech?  Also, what trends, both good and bad, do you see in the 21st century in regards to preaching?

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