Tim Keller is one of my favorite preachers and authors. Every few months he does a Q&A on Twitter using the #AskTK hashtag. In this particular #AskTK, he answers a lot of preaching questions. He also talks about his new book Preaching: Communicating in an Age of Skepticism. In this post I have a list of the tweets from last Tuesday’s (5/26/15) #AskTK. I also attached a downloadable #AskTK PDF list of the tweets.
@mfreyd: How important is it to accommodate differences in generations as it relates to preaching (e.g. between Boomers and Millenials)? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @mfreyd I take into consideration race and culture, age, education, gender-all of them are important. I do it instinctively as I see them.
@rdmcclenagan: @timkellernyc #asktk Is there ‘one’ big idea in a given text? is that a helpful or not helpful way to preach?
@timkellernyc: @rdmcclenagan You should look for the main theme and focus on that if you can. Not all texts reveal a single main theme.
@Justin_T_Cook: @timkellernyc Roughly how much time should young pastors budget for sermon prep/week? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @Justin_T_Cook roughly six hours-but not all at once. Spend time pastoring and reading widely and your preaching will improve.
@MattDampier: Hey @timkellernyc how do you keep your passion for the gospel so white-hot and energy so high when you preach as often as you do? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@MattDampier 1) reflection/meditation on the Scriptures, particularly the Psalms-taste the beauty of Christ. 2) Exercise (treadmill).
@michaelscason: @timkellernyc what are the best ways for a young ministry student to keep developing their skills and talents for their future ministry?
@timkellernyc: .@michaelscason Never turn down a speaking or preaching or pastoring opportunity. i.e., practice.
@_courtneyyyH11: #asktk @timkellernyc Any advice for young Christians who are going off to college?
@timkellernyc: .@_courtneyyyH11 Join a community-ask hard questions of your faith and get answers-don’t shrink for forgiving/repenting (real relationships)
@DougSteffy6: @timkellernyc How can we best reach the growing number of people who believe that truth is relative? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@DougSteffy116 This is important-and I have a section in the Preaching book on it. You have to show the assumptions they have in a nutshell
@lukemiddleton: @timkellernyc #asktk Is there a typical shell or template that you work from when preparing a sermon?
@timkellernyc: .@lukemiddleton I don’t have templates, but I do like to show how the text is showing us a problem and then ultimately a gospel solution.
@JustinDean: .@timkellernyc what’s your thoughts on live streaming sermons to different congregations of a multi-site church? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@JustinDean I think you lose not just the personal touch, but the ability to read your audience. The audience/speaker dynamic is complex.
@lukemiddleton: @timkellernyc #asktk You use a manuscript, correct? How do you not stay tied to it (eyes down)? Rehearse?
@timkellernyc: .@lukemiddleton I use a detailed outline, and a memorize it-particularly transitions. When preaching be thinking how to say, not what to say
@curtis_jt21: @timkellernyc what advice would you give to a 22 year old guy who is pastoring a church plant in an inner city??? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@curtis_jt21 Learn your congregation’s narratives, don’t burnout, ask others who have been there longer, pastoring is more than preaching.
.@Warrior4Jesus: @timkellernyc I am an 18-year-old boy, who has never had a girlfriend. Any advice on singleness and relationships? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@Warrior4Jesus Read Paige’s article on singleness. It’s a good start. “Singled Out for Good”
@eugpark101: @timkellernyc what’s the important thing for college ministers to focus on? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@eugpark101 Help students use conflict to bring forgiveness and repentance–which makes the gospel real. Most don’t get in conflict.
@SlamDuncle: #asktk @timkellernyc why do we have denominations? Do you believe they prevent the body of Christ from working at full potential for Him?
@timkellernyc: .@SlamDuncle Denoms are the product of our need for purity in the church. Unity and purity are in tension-denoms are the result.
@CSFchris: #asktk @timkellernyc Compared to the Lord’s supper, singing, and other elements in a worship service, how important is preaching?
@timkellernyc: .@CSFchris You’re asking a Presbyterian this? I would say it is a very important element in the worship service. You can’t do without it.
@Chadwickforfree: #asktk @timkellernyc when preaching Christ how do we not just lecture but show his beauty for the hearers heart to worship on the spot
@timkellernyc: .@Chadwickforfree Great point-have to show Christ’s beauty and not tell. Engage the imagination. see Edwards on this.
@AmberStamperPhD: @timkellernyc I have 1 yr old twin boys. I know you have sons too. 🙂 Any tips for raising them up in the way they should go? 🙂 #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@AmberStamperPhD Forgive and repent, practice grace, show them not perfection, but humility found primarily in the cross.
.@Justin_T_Cook: @timkellernyc What are your thoughts on manuscripting sermons, especially for younger pastors? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@Justin_T_Cook If it works, fine. Just make sure you memorize and don’t read your manuscript.
@jedwalker: @timkellernyc What do you think is the biggest cultural challenge the church is currently facing? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@jedwalker In the West, it is critiquing the unspoken assumptions of Secularism, and fixing hypocrisy in the Church.
@TomlinMedia: #asktk What’s your view on showing film clips, playing songs, and using other visual/audio from pop culture to help prove a point?
@timkellernyc: .@TomlinMedia I don’t do that. I think good preaching creates the images in the mind and pricks the imagination a la Jonathan Edwards.
@PopcornTheology: @timkellernyc #asktk Favorite television show? Should Christians engage entertainment which contains sin/sinful plot devices?
@timkellernyc: .@PopcornTheology I’m liking Elementary and Broad Church right now.
@jasonlee81: @timkellernyc is the practice of meditation such as transcendental meditation inconsistent with Christianity? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@jasonlee81 Yes. Biblical mediation is filling your mind with Scripture, not emptying it.
@lukemiddleton: @timkellernyc #asktk What’s the role of the individual preacher’s personality in the pulpit? Does it have a place?
@timkellernyc: .@lukemiddleton If you are not too nervous or affective, your personality will come out and will naturally have a place.
@EricTGuthrie: @timkellernyc how do you guard against despair after preaching? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @EricTGuthrie By not getting your identity from your reputation as a preacher. That sounds simple, but it is so important.
@gradywsmith: @timkellernyc How do we balance staying informed through news and media with living/caring about our immediate surroundings? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@gradywsmith Read hard copy newspapers that way you stay informed, but you don’t spend too much time “elsewhere.”
@abrahaMichael: What lead you to start @TGC with Dr. Carson? #AskTk
@timkellernyc: .@abrahaMichael @TGC Don and I thought it would be a good idea. You could say our friendship is what lead us to start it.
@chughes_: @timkellernyc How do you promote your own work (books etc) in humility and in light of Pro 27:2 ? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@chughes_ Proverbs is right, you should tell people about your book, but not praise yourself.
@Kevin_D_Sprague: @timkellernyc How do you determine which details of a passage you will not go into? How do you safe-guard from rabbit trials #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@Kevin_D_Sprague You should only have one or two main points. Details that get you elsewhere should be avoided even if they are interesting
@TheSlambert: @timkellernyc I got feedback that my sermons are good but too long at 45 min. I want to be humble. I want to preach well. Thoughts?#asktk
@timkellernyc: .@TheSlambert 45min is way to long for most audiences and for most preachers. I shoot for 28min. #alwaysleavethemwantingmore
@KateSchaff: @timkellernyc Have wondered if you’ve been influenced/read much of Scottish preachers of the last century? e.g. William Still. #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@KateSchaff William Still, James Philp, Sinclair Ferguson have all been helpful.
@trevorcox: @timkellernyc You have a group of five new believers in front of you. What do you say first? What do you say next? Next? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@trevorcox Hello Why is it hard for you to believe in Christianity? Tell me what the very best answer to your own objection would be.
@CMEman: @timkellernyc – What r da best scholarly resources one can consult with a limited knowledge of Greek/Hebrew? Best Bible commentaries? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @CMEman @Logos is the best way to interact with the text in the original with limited knowledge of languages.
@DZRishmawy: .@timkellernyc #asktk which preacher of a prior generation had the biggest influence on you? & what’s the biggest change since their time?
@timkellernyc: .@DZRishmawy Answered the first half already. London listeners in their day still accepted more basic Christian assumptions than now.
@CharloGillaspie: When you were a young pastor…what did you find most difficult about preaching? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@CharloGillaspie Having to preach every seven days whether you were ready or not.
.@Troy_Cook: @timkellernyc What advice do you give to young preachers who tend to imitate their favorite preachers? #AskTK
@timkellernyc: .@Troy_Cook The more favorite preachers you have, the more you will develop your own voice, though it will take a while. Get more voices.
@DavidJosephNoe: @timkellernyc In what ways, if any, would you preach differently if serving in the Bible Belt? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@DavidJosephNoe For nine years I was. Unbelief is not as conscience or overt there.
@greenpun: @timkellernyc #asktk should a pastor try and reach unbelievers, young Christians and mature believers in every sermon?
@timkellernyc: .@greenpun Absolutely unless you have a very unbalanced church because they are all out there.
@joshyboyrules: @timkellernyc how do you balance looking at commentary for help on interpreting bible text versus coming up with your own thought? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@joshyboyrules Don’t go to commentaries first and write down the things that strike you first. Then go to others.
@THECHANNINATOR: @timkellernyc do you experience the post-preaching crash? how do you deal with it? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @THECHANNINATOR I preach four times on a Sunday. Afterwards I do no work and go to bed early.
@BretNicholson: @timkellernyc #asktk. What’s the most significant change you’ve made to your preaching over the years / why?
@timkellernyc: .@BretNicholson I have become more Christ-centered than in my first 10-15 years of preaching, and I see how the whole Scriptures speak of J.
@WillRiddle92: @timkellernyc at what point does topical preaching become more harmful than helpful? #AskTK
@timkellernyc: .@WillRiddle92 Expository preaching should be the main diet for your congregation. It topical sermons are not the main diet it’s fine.
@mph___ : @timkellernyc what ideal % of a sermon should be for Christians vs. unbelievers? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@mph___ It depends on the text (whether it has a strong message to non-believers) and the audience before you.
@djchuang: #asktk @timkellernyc in the digital age, communication is no longer just in the pulpit, it’s 24/7; how much time daily/wkly do you tweet?
@timkellernyc: .@djchuang Not a lot DJ. I look at it every once in a while and answer accordingly.
@johndpham: #asktk Why is it important to contrast the gospel with irreligion AND religion?
@timkellernyc: .@johndpham a) So non-Christians know you aren’t just calling them to morality b) So Christians don’t think the law is not important.
@DavidQaoud :@timkellernyc Curious . . . Even though you’ve done it for a while, do you ever get nervous before you preach? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@DavidQaoud Interestingly, yes, but like most preachers, not in my home church.
@MichaelMcAfee: @timkellernyc #asktk how do you preach Jesus from historical books besides “true and better ______” is this the only/best way?
@timkellernyc: .@MichaelMcAfee I hate to say this again, but I have chapter in my book on this. Briefly, there are other ways besides typology–i.e., images.
.@The__Ox: @timkellernyc Do you still outline your sermon before writing (exp/illust/app) or has that become more instinctual for you now? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@The__Ox I outline it, then I write it, then I redo the outline, then I preach it.
@rlangehennig: What are some tips for effective communication for young pastors? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@rlangehennig In my book on preaching there are other books listed inside that I think are the best. Link here: http://amzn.to/1AsiajH
@brielleocot: @timkellernyc your thoughts on women preaching? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@brielleocot See my wife’s short book on this issue: Jesus, Justice and Gender Roles. It will be better than a tweet
@mbrunjes: @timkellernyc #asktk What is the best way to make sermon applications with out moralizing or giving a “new law”.
@timkellernyc: .@mbrunjes Make sure the application always connects to faith in Jesus.
@robertgall: @timkellernyc Has pastoring in NYC taught you anything that would change how you would preach to the rural VA church you pastored? #asktk
@timkellernyc: @robertgall This sounds funny, but no.
@timkellernyc If you were a new pastor trying to communicate the gospel clearly, would you choose to preach from the NIV? or ESV? #asktk
@timkellernyc: .@robertgall Communicating the gospel clearly does not primarily depend on the translation…but on the pastor’s own understanding of gospel