How to Preach Better
Why is it that some preachers see signs and wonders, yet their sermons are incoherent ramble-a-thons? Why is it some speakers are great communicators, but don’t move in power? Why is it that some preachers can move in power, and move the heart and mind with their words?
Have you ever noticed that some preachers hit it out of the park nearly every time they speak, and that others strike out nearly every time at bat? Why is that? Why are great preachers consistently great and poor preachers mind numbingly boring? Are they born that way? Is that anything they can do to change?
After studying preaching for many years, doing a lot of it, and asking others for tips, I noticed a common theme emerge. Great preachers think differently about preaching than those who were so-so. I also noticed that when I took so-so preachers, and taught them to think differently, their preaching improved very rapidly and dramatically with just a few sessions.
I took those principles, and wrote them to help train who recognize that they use some improvement. If you hunger to grow, and are willing to try some different things then you can experience the same thing.
If you want to preach better you are going to have to think differently. Thinking is the art of asking and answering questions. Poor preachers ask poor questions as they prepare for their sermons like “How can I fill the time?” Great preachers ask great questions, "What's the Spirit saying." “What does the text say?” “What stories apply to this?” Over time they develop a set of great questions that they go through with every sermon. Some may have been doing it so long that they do the ask the questions intuitively, and not longer use a written list. However, no one preaches well with them.
If you don’t have a list of questions that you work through as you prepare every sermon then I can have a great and probably accurate guess of what type you what type of preacher you are.
I will share with you the questions I use in a moment. But before I do that, I want to share why I choose my questions. I choose them because I have a standard for the sermons I want to deliver. First I wrote out the standards for what type of preach I wanted to be, then I crafted questions that would make me think in a way that would bring my sermon up to that standard.
“If you want to change your life, you have to change the standards of what you will accept from yourself.” ~ Tony Robbins
1. Live from my identity in Christ.
2. Allow the Spirit to do what He wants.
3. To teach the Bible accurately.
4. To preach how people learn best.
Questions I ask myself as I prepare a Sermon:
1. Making it about God
a. Where can I trust God more as I prepare? Am I living from my Identity?
b. Is God giving me an explicit direction, or is He allowing me to go with my heart and brain?
2. Making it clear
a. What is the one thing people need to know?
b. How can I turn this into a 7 word or less phrase?
c. Why do they need to know it?
3. Making it applicable
a. What do they need to do?
b. Why do they need to do it?
c. Can I make them take a step while I am teaching?
4. Making it Scriptural
a. What text do I need to use?
b. What is the context?
c. What do the commentaries say?
d. Can I roll my commentary of scripture?
5. Making it logical
a. What does my audience already think about this subject?
b. In light of what they believe where do I need to begin?
c. Where are they most likely to resist?
d. Is there any need to check the accuracy of what I am saying?
e. Have I read the opposing side to what I am saying?
f. Did I write out my transitions?
g. Do I need to recap last week?
6. Making it Memorable
a. What stories, testimonies, or props can I use?
b. Would using a PowerPoint and picture help?
c. Is there anywhere I can add humor or fun?
d. Do I have a clear way to end?
7. Making it influential
a. What do the lost, seekers, babies, the mature, and Christ Centered need to hear?
b. What people groups am I forgetting about that need to be included? Atheists? Wiccan? Hindi?
8. Making it inspirational
a. Where can I point people back to the bigness of God, or their identity?
b. Where can I speak hope and life?
9. Making it Better
a. What do I need to eliminate?
b. What stories aren’t perfect?
c. What scriptures or lines of thoughts don’t fit exactly?
d. What sentences can I make shorter?
e. Can I make things any simpler or clear?
11. Being Prepared
a. Have I preached it out loud 3-4 times?
12. Where does the Spirit want to go in ministry time?
a. I only know the answer about 25% of the time.