Don't Be Who You're Not

As I’ve been continuing to develop as a preacher (albeit slowly), one of the great temptations I’ve come across has been imitating other men. I mean, seeing these guys who are extraordinarily gifted by God to preach His Word—guys like my  pastor, Norm Millar, and guys like Driscoll, Chandler, Francis Chan, Piper, MacArthur, Platt—and it’s really tempting to want to be like them.

To say things the way they would say it. To act the way they would act.

But isn’t that dishonoring to God?

The other day, I came across this video where Matt Chandler reminds us of the danger of trying to be who you’re not:

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Tim 4:5)

Fulfill the ministry God has intended for you, not for someone else. Don’t be who you’re not.

HT: Zwinglit

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  • Amber

    I agree, we shouldn’t try to be someone else. But I also wonder if preaching is like writing. In writing it’s a natural and often subconcious impulse to try to write like those we admire. As we continue to grow and improve, the dust of someone else’s style shakes off, but key important lessons we’ve learned from the individual stay, eventually compounding into who we truly are as a writer.

    All that to say, I don’t think we should be too hard on ourselves in the process of discovering and honing who we are as preachers and writers when this inevitable tendency occurs.

  • Emily Armstrong

    A great thought. I’m glad that you draw from a diverse crowd for inspiration. Partly because it’d be really annoying to hear someone else’s words come out of your mouth all day 😉

    Mainly though, I’m just glad that you put down that invisible mixing bowl years ago.

  • Aaron Armstrong

    There are definitely some common struggles in finding your own voice. It’s why I really appreciate what Don Carson says, “If you listen to one person, you’ll be a bad imitation. If you listen to two, you’ll be confused. But if you listen to fifty, you’ll start to develop your own voice.”

    I think my concern for myself is that if I’m not actively learning, but just trying to import someone else’s style or gifting into what I’m doing, that’s when it’s going to go bad for me. I’d rather be great at what God has asked me to do than be a bad copy of someone else, y’know?

  • Chris

    I agree, it’s better that you don’t listen to just one pastor and adopt his style. I download a lot of different pastors weekly and some of the pastors at the smaller churches sound just like the “more known” pastors. I don’t mind when one pastor quotes another one though.

    • Aaron Armstrong

      Pastors quoting one another is great; whenever my pastor quotes someone it’s always a hint that I need to check that guy out.