Category Archives: Preaching

Preaching and Vision Casting: 5 Tips

This past Sunday I preached a sermon that was quite different for me and, I believe, quite different for the congregation. I presented information about our children’s ministry’s plan for updates and changes to our facility and their ministry in particular. In many ways it was vision casting with specific action items. Far too many sermons are preached that have little connection to what is going on, where we are headed and how people can actually get on board. Maybe that’s just me and my limited experience and maybe that is just a reflection on my own preaching. By and large that has been my experience. Preaching that has no direction will lead to a congregation that has no direction. This requires several things:

1 – Sermons need to be planned out in advance. The preacher needs to determine the path of the messages to make sure they are “going somewhere” and not just anywhere…that they are going where we believe God is taking the congregation. If vision is where we believe we are going then sermons can’t be randomly selected. They must point in that same direction. That takes intentionality and planning. I like to plan things out a few months in advance and then adjust as I go. I think both are required – planning and rebalancing/adjusting along the way as things progress.

2 – Sermons must be in tune with the ministries of the congregation. This takes in depth conversation with ministry leaders to know what it is their ministries need in order to keep actual ministry needs and wins before the congregation so actual ministry can be discussed, promoted and celebrated publicly. This connects the message with actual events in the life of the congregation.

3 – Sermons must be connected with reality. I stopped writing sermon introductions over a year ago because I realize that by the time I get up to preach there has been 30-40 minutes of things said and done that I won’t be able to predict when writing the sermon days prior. If I want my sermon to connect with reality it must be in tune with all that leads up to it both through the week and up to the moment I step up to preach.

4 – Sermons must give specifics. Without specifics, sermons are philosophical treatises on the abstract. Specifics illustrate for the congregation how the principles being discussed are played out in real time. Don’t use an online illustration pulled from a list of 4000 catchy illustrations…pull one from the life of the congregation.

5 – Find the right person to say it. The preacher is not always the right person to say all that needs to be said. Let that ministry leader get up and say it. Give them space and time. Let the congregation hear the passion of the person who has a passion for that rather than the preacher trying to share a story about someone else’s ministry, win, vision, etc. The congregation needs to hear from more voices and those invested who are trusted enough to run a ministry need to be trusted enough to talk about it publicly.

The Power of Story Only Takes One So Far

Stories are powerful. They tap into the emotions a lot more quickly and effectively than raw data. Because they are both effective and efficient it is easy to rely on them too heavily. I have heard sermons that had many powerful stories in them but in the mix of the story telling I wasn’t reallyContinue Reading

Building a Theological & Ministry Library Part 3 – Books on Preaching

There is a wealth of books on preaching out there these days that put the experts in the field right at our fingertips. Not only does a preacher need to be biblically informed. A preacher needs to be a decent to excellent communicator as well. We are not all gifted as expert communicators but IContinue Reading

Interview With Michael Heiser

Michael Heiser is the author of two recent books that have both been reviewed here on the site: The Unseen Realm & Supernatural. We recently recorded a conversation about how to get our eyes and ears more open to scripture. From that topic we launch into how our understanding of our spiritual identity is aContinue Reading

An “Aha” About God’s Love for Me from 1 John 1

I am not much of a self promoter so that is not what this is about at all but I feel compelled to share something here that I shared yesterday morning. Fast forward to 1:13:30. Just for some context on this – I don’t really like writing introductions to sermons because I always figure somethingContinue Reading

Exploring the First Century Church: Instruction & Teaching

The last post talked about the Bible proper. This post is going to be exploring how the early church went about making instructions and teaching from what they had. As was already mentioned, completed New Testaments took some time to be compiled, copied and circulated as a whole for the churches in the ancient world.Continue Reading

The Most Critical Question for Preaching and Teaching

The most critical question is not what illustration to use or how many points one needs in a sermon. It is not even about form and function…what form does the sermon need to take or what function does this sermon have in the life of the church. Before all of that the critical question inContinue Reading

Preaching Into a Meaningful Whole: Connecting Sermon with the Rest of Worship

The sermon is never complete until the last word is said and people stand and sing. No matter how much I prepare, study, and wrestle over what needs to be said or how to say it…the sermon is never done until it is done. In order to make the sermon fit better into the restContinue Reading

Words Create…and Creation Cannot be Rushed

God created the universe with words and with Word (Gen 1:1, John 1:1-3, Col 1:16). Needless to say, words are powerful. In a much more limited sense, our words also have power to create. There are certain words that are spoken that just cannot be unspoken because once they are said they create a lastingContinue Reading

Psychotherapy, Preaching and Self-Differentiation in Ministry

There is a term in psychology that every preacher needs to be aware of called “self-differentiation” and it basically means knowing where you stop and everyone else starts…it is the maturity to be able to pull apart what is going on inside of self and what is going on outside yourself. Part of self-differentiation inContinue Reading

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