I have been, as I mentioned a ways back, loving listening to Bryan Chapell's lectures on preaching. They are chock-full of helpful wisdom.
Today, I listened to his lecture entitled "Word and Witness." In it, he mentioned that three elements have, since ancient times, been considered essential to persuasive speaking, including preaching. These three are: logos, pathos, and ethos (all from Greek words).
Logos, Chapell explains, has to do with the verbal content of the message. This involves not only the words spoken, but the logic and the organization of what is said. For preachers, this boils down to bringing the Word of God to others in clear and accurate ways. This is an essential element of preaching.
Pathos, by contrast, refers to the "emotive" content of the message. Here is where passion comes in to the message. Nobody is gripped by the message of a monotone preacher. It ought to come through loud and clear that we actually believe what we are saying! Logic alone is not usually enough, passion too is an essential aspect to effective preaching.
Finally, Chapell considers ethos the most important element of all. Ethos is our "perceived character." Do people sense we care about them? Are we viewed as men of compassion and integrity, worth listening to? Of course, there is always the danger of being misunderstood. This happened to the apostle Paul frequently. But insofar as we have the capability by the grace of God to be preachers marked by loving concern for the people of God and for the lost, we ought to pursue such a path.
Now, to be clear, Chapell's theology is sound: he knows the man is but an instrument in the hands of God, incapable of effecting even the slightest change in the hearts of men and women. Still, though, I believe Chapell is right: the ordinary way in which God works is through preachers whose logos, pathos, and ethos are, by the grace of God, in order in His sight.