Thursday, April 15, 2010

Preaching Thoughts

If I was going to say some things about preaching, I might say these:

- The best sermons are ones you can say in a sentence. Everything that happens in that sermon should illustrate, support, or elucidate that sentence.

- Preparing to preach and planning worship are the same thing. Sunday morning is all sermon. Everything has to fit together.

- The key to preaching better is to preach less often. If a preacher is preaching more than 40 times a year, it becomes a grind. Let someone else talk for a change, and take some weeks where you help lead worship but do not preach. It makes a huge difference.

- The best sermon feedback comes from your children. Especially if they are, say for example, 9 and 12 years old. But seriously, if you say something that sticks with teenagers, you have really said something.

- Life is sermon prep. But sermon prep is not life.

- Yes, use visuals - images on screen, props in hand, objects in the room, etc. No, do not use gimmicks. And know the difference - a visual enhances, a gimmick distracts.

- Practice out loud a lot.

- Frequently listen to and/or watch your self preach.

- Teach a Bible Study on the scripture you are using in the upcoming sermon on the Wednesday evening before you preach it.

- Be ready to throw the whole thing away and start over if something happens in your community, area, nation, or somewhere in the world that impacts people in a significant way and focus on that instead.

Just some thoughts. What would you add?

9 comments:

willdeuel said...

A good ending is better than a good introduction. When composing the sermon, find your way out before you find a way in.

Stresspenguin said...

When in doubt, lasers.

Seriously, show don't tell. For example, instead of saying "he was nervous," say, "sweat roiled down his brow as his foot tapped an incessant beat." Or something like that, but better.

Avoid cliches like the plague.

People like to do things and go places, even while listening to sermons. Invite people to do things and go somewhere by the worlds you speak.

David said...

Trust the Spirit to work in advance.

Yes, there will be rare occasions when circumstances dictate a "throw-it-out-and-wing-it" approach to worship. But holistic worship works best when everyone (preacher, musicians, readers, etc.) has been "in" on the arc of service prep, and knows exactly how "their piece" fits in the puzzle.

Build your team with people you trust to enhance your sermon with their own gifts, and give them the tools--and the time--they need to live out their gifts in worship.

Kansas Bob said...

I love that advice Andy! A lot of wisdom in those words.

I think that all teaching should be inspirational. And by inspiration I do not mean rah-rah cheerleading. I mean connecting with the hearts of people who hear you. When I think of inspiration I think about what the bible says of the inspiration of scripture and how it is God breathed. Maybe that is what a sermon should be in a sense?

Anonymous said...

Here's a congregant's take:

Showmanship is undervalued. If there's a message - sell it. Passion counts. A good percentage of the population has heard the scripture and this particular sermon before ie: "be Easter people", "make Christmas every day". We want to be taught and inspired and challenged. We don't want to be dodging theological chestnuts as they are lobbed from the pulpit. Don't take on a style that is not you. Primacy and Recency are important when people have limited attention.

Kanta said...

Kantahanan is the home of every song. The word kantahanan is derived from the tagalog words "Kanta" which means "Song" and "Tahanan" which means "Home".

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Martin said...

I still remember the Sunday after 9/11, and the sermon which was preached. Had NOTHING TO DO with the events that had happened. :(