Today, I’m picking back up on last week’s post regarding 6 Practical Pointers for Preachers. But before I unpack these
six seven more pointers, let me remind the Gospel preachers and Bible teachers among us that these are learned skills. And the good news is that you can grow into them. Don’t discount your calling or give up on yourself because you are not as far along as you’d like to be. Development is daily, and growth in ministry is a part of the journey. Enjoy the journey and be kind to those who listen to your sermons.
One self-evaluating question you could ask is, “Would I have enjoyed listening to that message?” Or, you could simply listen to your own recorded sermons and ask the Spirit to help you evaluate your content and delivery. It’s also a good thing to have a few friends that you trust enough to help you become a better preacher. Growth in preaching must be intentionally pursued.
7. Why are you preaching this message? What’s the point? Boil your thoughts down to one clear concept, big idea, the sermon in a sentence, your overarching main point. This is the main thing that you believe God wants His people to know as a result of your message. Say it often enough and the Holy Spirit will bring it back to their remembrance when they need it most. This repetition will also help you to stay on track while preaching.
8. Stop comparing yourself to other preachers. Allow God to use you, the gifts He has given you, and your personality. There’s no need in trying to mimic your favorite preachers. But don’t be lazy. God expects you to work at growing in your gifts. You have His permission to be the best you that you can be.
9. Illustrations and stories are tools, which come alongside Bible truths in order to help explain that which is unclear. So, use them with care. Often, it is best to let the Bible illustrate the Bible. Regardless of how spiritual illustrations from outside of Scripture appear, some have the potential to lead us into the ditch of false doctrine. A good tip to remember when using illustrations is this: “you can’t get more spiritual than scriptural” (Bishop Tim Hill). I thoroughly enjoy good sermon illustrations and use them often. However, the Word of God rightly divided is more important than a clever illustration.
10. The Holy Spirit has been blamed for too many failures. If I’m not adequately prepared, that’s my fault. God anoints prepared servants to preach His Word. The Church has proven for centuries that it can exist without elaborate buildings, technological tools, or major media personalities. But the church cannot possibly exist without preaching the Word of God. Preaching must be primary! Jesus commands it. Paul commends it. The Church requires it. And the Holy Spirit wants to anoint His prepared servants to do it.
11. During your study and preparation time, ask the Holy Spirit how you should close. Planning the sermon conclusion in advance helps the congregation immensely. Let them know it’s time to pray and respond to how God’s Word has challenged them. Wrap it up beautifully and they’ll be glad to take it home.
12. “When you get the car in the garage, don’t keep driving” (Haddon Robinson). The longer you talk after having mentioned a conclusion or closing, the more likely people are to mentally leave the building. Unless you plan on closing within two to three minutes, don’t mention it.
And just because I am a preacher who doesn’t always stop when and where he should, here’s a bonus tip for you. If the musicians would begin to play something softly now, I’m preparing to close.
13. BONUS TIP – If you’ve been asked to preach a service, then do so. If you have not been invited to preach a service, then do not. Submit to the spiritual authority God has placed over that congregation. Do not take advantage of a pastor or other church leader who simply asks you to testify or greet the congregation. IF God wants me or you to preach a service that it appeared we were only attending, HE is well able to lead, confirm, and arrange that through the pastor of that congregation. Being Pentecostal or Spirit-filled does not give anyone the right to take over a service.
Thank you for reading some of my thoughts on preaching. Bible preaching is one of the most subjective things an individual could ever do. Everyone has a different opinion of what makes for good preaching and everyone seems to measure by a different set of standards. So we should be kind to those who practice this high and difficult calling by covering them in prayer. Pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers alike refuse to peak and let the Lord keep working on you to make you the preacher you ought to be. And please be sure to like, comment, share and let’s keep the conversation going in pursuit of excellence in spoken ministry.