I like good preaching. The older I get, the more I appreciate the various styles and giftings of all God’s speaking servants. My appreciation for preachers and good preaching causes me to want to be and do better. I’m not April fooling either, by telling you that God likes good preaching too. He has brought His salvation to many believers through the gifted foolishness of preaching (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
In the spirit of appreciation, I trust you’ll enjoy these nine thoughts on preaching good sermons.
- A preacher that truly loves God’s Word and people is a joy to hear. “Sound preaching arises out of two loves – love of the Word of God and love of people – and from them both a desire to show people God’s glorious grace” (Timothy Keller). Graceful is a good way to describe sound preaching.
- Some situations require a shorter message and there’s nothing unspiritual about that. It has taken me more time and effort to prepare to preach a shorter message, but in these settings, less becomes more. I confess that some of my shorter sermons have been more profound than many of my other lengthier ones.
- Pastors should use caution about repeating their personal stories as illustrations. Congregants can get weary of always hearing about the greatness of your family. Eyes will roll and minds will wander.
- We should not compare ourselves with other preachers. Each of us has a different set of unique experiences, a personalized education, and skillful gifts from which to preach. Let each one give THEIR utmost for HIS glory.
- Sanctification and holiness should be an integral part of every preacher’s vocabulary. You never need be ashamed to teach the biblical balance. “Sanctification is too wonderful a gift of God for it to suffer from silence” (Dr. Terry Tramel).
- Very few people will really understand your efforts and appreciate the sermon’s value. However, you should still approach your preparation with excellence and then preach with passion. God sees and He will reward your faithfulness.
- Shepherd, use the truth of God’s Word as your chief tool because only it has the power to keep your flock whole. “It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than a falsehood that comforts and then kills” (Adrian Rogers). Tell them the truth, then pray for and with them.
- If there ever was such a thing as a perfect sermon, I doubt we’d all agree on it. Every person has varied learning styles which move them and different ideas about what constitutes good preaching. Seek to please God with your sermons and He will help you deal with the other consequences.
- A well-placed and concise conclusion is the most important and often overlooked part of the message. Finish well. Your listeners will appreciate you for it.
I’ll take that last point to heart and conclude my thoughts with a lifehack. Using this list to grade the next sermon you hear could be likened to April Fool’s behavior. Let’s allow each preacher to prayerfully examine their own self and sermon.
Which one of these thoughts really got your attention? Share with me in the comments and remember to pray for your preaching friends. We need it and we will all benefit from your prayers.