Heart and Head Not Enough: Preaching from Your Toes


Over and over, I hear that preachers need to preach from their heads (meaning that the content found in sermons needs to be weighty with Scripture) and/or from their hearts (sermons need to be passionate and compassionate, showing the shepherd’s heart for his people). 

While head and heart receive the majority of the press, I believe the toes need their 15 minutes of fame.  What do toes have to do with preaching?

Preachers need to preach on their toes.  Preachers who preach on their heels or in a ‘settled’ position convey the lack of importance and urgency in proclaiming God’s Word.  Preaching ‘on your toes’ in the ready position conveys that the sermon is not something you are simply preaching, but has captured you as well. 

Preachers need to be on their toes regarding biblical worldview (and other competing worldviews).  I’ve said elsewhere that pastors and preachers need to be the most well-read individuals on the planet.  Pastors must not settle on their heels education-wise.  We must not simply draw from past wells that may go dry, but continue to dig new wells that bring new water to nourish in the now.  Stay on your toes in what you believe, but also in what your parishioners are being exposed to as well. 

Preachers need to stand on their tiptoes to learn from the rarefied air of pastoral giants gone by. Oftentimes, we have to stand on our toes to reach up for that book or commentary (at least this 5’8” preacher does), and what an apt metaphor.  While the Scriptures must be our first and last textbook we use in our preparation and devotion, we can learn from the men of faith from days gone by.  Richard Baxter lived in the 1600’s, but what a glorious pastoral ministry he had that t still speaks today.  John Calvin lived in the 1500’s, but his systematic theology puts the doctrines of the faith on the bottom shelf for us to still draw from.  Even Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Stott, Charles Spurgeon, and A.W. Tozer (among scores of others) bring much to the table from which we may dine and be nourished. 


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