Preaching can be…

…from God!
Preaching/teaching is God’s idea. ‘How are they to hear without someone preaching?” God has Paul ask, in Romans 10:14. We believe we chose this because He wants us to do this!

about God and His Word.
“Preach the Word,” is clear. And approaches and styles will differ, the result should be that people learn the truth of God. Exposition of the Scriptures. Much more important than what I can come up with.

…with application!
The Bible and its exposition are meant to change hearts and actions. So from the outset of a sermon, not just in the last few minutes, we should be asking people if this is true of them. “Do you do this?” And talking about our own struggle with obedience. They should know the whole way through that this is for our daily living.

…with passion.
Nothing worse than a sermon has people saying, “That was okay. Probably true. “And shall we yawn?” ‘Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God,” is Peter’s clear call. Mean it! Allow it to change your heart and know that people really do need it. This is not about yelling or theatrics, but about a heart that obviously believes it and wants this to be true.

…with a start and a finish.
Most who teach homiletics emphasize how important are the strong introduction that raises a tension or gets people thinking and a conclusion that sums it up and wraps it together. It’s great when those two can be bookends for the sermon. A very common weakness is “landing the airplane”! We all know what that feels like. Both and start and the end should we very well planned, and at about the same time each week!

…with variety.
Attention span is smaller today than ever! I say, attention span….. :-). It really is. People are used to 15 second sound bites, or action videos of Lebron or the guy named “Mayhem,” and we are supposed to keep their attention for the whole sermon.
Variety in loud and soft speech……
Variety in cadence and speed of delivery….
Variety in genre of language — exhortation, illustration, personal joy or
|                                                                  emotion, a quote…
Variety in our position or placement….
(So we e grab people back from daydream when we pause and/or walk to the side a few steps and in a very conversational and sincere way tell a short story or stand as a person rather than a preacher and say how we struggle with that command or truth.

…with awareness.
We have all heard sermons or given sermons when there was an elephant in the room that was not even mentioned! Or a pandemic. Or a tragedy. Every text can give help for any situation, but it must be noticed and addressed.

…with purpose.
To glorify God….to proclaim the cross and its gospel (run to the cross with at least a brief part of every sermon — so many are not sure of grace or could not explain it to a friend!)… to change beliefs or actions or feelings… to show what this text would look like if obeyed by us.

…with love.
We easily sense when someone is talking (or preaching) to us to show skills and draw attention or because he really loves us and cares. Some of this relates to how we have treated them in the halls or in a board meeting or when we saw them downtown or what we said in the Friday email sharing joy about the Sunday ahead!

with prayer.
We ask for the “strength that God supplies” (I Peter 4:11) and the effect that He likes. The last is first.

with joy!
Is there a higher privilege than sharing the truth and love of God with the call to a “combination life” with Christ for now and forever? I think not. A wonderful way to spend a life!

When you speak to a camera instead of a room full of people

… Preach the Word.  Nothing has changed there.

… Talk about the crisis. It is on everyone’s minds. Some I saw avoided the very cause of all this. Probably in any text one point or at least an application could be directed to this present crisis, at least a little.

… Give hope and encouragement to trust the sovereignty of our Father and Savior.   We don’t have to explain exactly how that works for the first time.  🙂

… Do not be as long as usual if your service normally goes over an hour. This might go against the intuition that says people don’t have that much to do sitting at home.  But there are more distractions there, and more freedom to move around!

… Explain the cross.   Every sermon should,  and hopefully some  unchurched people are watching the service and thinking about all this.

… If you heard Dr. Debbie Birx from the president’s task force call on millennials to help and support their parents and grandparents, and other seniors, you probably will repeat that challenge. It seems like such a good idea to include them in such a call.

… Talk about the pain some people are having, and going through. Identify with those who are most afraid.

… Smile at appropriate times.  Be as personal and warm as on a normal Sunday. Or more so!

… Is there any point saying that that there are only  eight or 15 in the room, causing a distraction probably for every listener? Instead just talk to the groups in their living rooms.  You are having a personal meeting as well as a sermon.

… Look directly at the camera most of the time.  Why not?   And a few times, especially at the closing appeal,  have the camera come in very close as you express your hopes for our lives. Because of the passage you have exposed and the Lord we love.

… Use familiar worship songs they can sing easily in their homes. This is not a day to teach new songs when people are scattered all over the area. It’s hard enough for some families to sing in their homes!  Skip the light songs that are just feelings-oriented.

… Pray a well planned pastoral prayer that includes our nation and our leaders in the world. And those who are sick.   (This might even get you into the habit of a pastoral prayer most weeks rather than the spontaneous lighter prayers while strumming a guitar. 🙂

… Be careful about recording multiple sermons ahead, as some are doing.    Developments every week will call for your comments or Scripture references.

 

Sermon Evaluation

By __________________ Sermon: __________________________

A Excellent, totally meets the goad
B Good, clear and on target
C Okay, acceptable
D Lacking, missed the mark

The heart of God ( What did He mean when He had it written?)

…Content true to the context and meaning ______ Comments__________________________________________________

… Explanation of the text was clear, understandable. ______ Comments__________________________________________________

… Meaning given was good exegesis, not reading into the text ____ Comments__________________________________________________

… Main idea and supporting ideas came from text  ___________  Comments___________________________________________________

…Good amplification from other verses ______   Comments___________________________________________________

 

The heart of the speaker (Did he/she show that the content captured
them?)

…Spoke with healthy passion, as if true and important! ______ Comments___________________________________________________

…Speaker wants it to be true in his own life. ______ Comments____________________________________________________

… Really believes this. _______
Comments ___________________________________________________

The speaker’s Variety of speed of delivery ___
Variety in movement ____
Delivery Variety of volume _____
Enough illustrations ______
Smiled at appropriate times _____
Some humor _______
Kind spirit showed _______
Notes unobtrusive ______
Spoke as one of us, not “You should….” ________

 

The heart of the listeners ( Would they walk out saying, I want that!

And not just That was good! or Yes, that was true!)

…Introduction made you want to listen. ______
Comments __________________________

…Conclusion made you want to do, feel, believe. ___________

…You could tell listeners were really thinking. _____ Comments_____________________________________________________

…There were many calls to apply to our lives, not just at the end. ______ Comments_____________________________________________________

… Talk moved you to want to obey our Lord. ______ Comments_____________________________________________________

… There was adequate response time with prayer and appropriate song.   Comments_____________________________________________________

OTHER ISSUES Appearance of speaker ___ Start on time _________

Greetings before and after service ______ End on time __________

Warmth toward people _______ Length of sermon _________

Use of visual ________ Clear speaking _______

Good grammar and diction _______

Would not have to ask, “Where did you get that?” __________

OTHER THOUGHTS;

Preparing a worship service and sermon with people in mind and heart!

The grand teacher of homiletics, Haddon Robinson, always taught that you should plan your sermon by (make-believe or real) sitting around a table with a 14-year-old, a widow,  a divorced person, married couple, young person, and an older retired person. I think he said five or six people.

The much less famous and less adequate student and sometimes teacher of homiletics, my wife’s husband, always emphasizes that there are three kinds of people sitting in the room and we must be conscious of all three for the whole service!

  1. A strong believer who is there rain or shine and believes everything in the Bible even when he cannot understand it and follows Christ. Your wife would be one of those,  and so would I.  Preach to us.
  2. The person who makes it to church one out of four if possible and  thinks he maybe believes in Christ most times I think perhaps.  How many of these are at your church?  We certainly do not know.  But we must preach to them also (and plan the service with them in mind also).
  3. The person unsure of just about everything who is  checking out the church that day.    We wish there were more them and want to preach and plan so people who are 1 and 2  are eager to invite friends who are 3s.
  4. The person church-shopping who just got disgruntled at another church because he was #1 and the church aimed for #3 or vice-versa.

🙂   I am not including #4 in our planning,  real as it is.

My experience in planning my own sermons and when I helped to plan the worship service, and set the direction for it, is that it is easy to think of only one of those groups.  Maybe two.

My experience in coaching pastors the last nine years is that it is easy and natural to lean toward either group 1 or group 3,  and hard to try to touch all three.  Sometimes that is related to the age or the conversion day of the captain of the ship,  but often it is just habit and sometimes a blind spot.

A good heart study and then staff discussion and then board subject might be to discuss how to connect with and at least  be conscious of the people in groups 1-3   (and perhaps,  for another day, your strategy or suggestions for those in group 4).

What do you think?

 

Sincere Questions About A Worship Service That May Sound Cynical At Times

PRE-SERVICE

  1. Do the staff and the lead volunteers really understand the purpose and the high importance of the worship assembly-service? Do they attend and participate?
  1. Do greeters and ushers know that the attenders and the guests are to be the object of their attention and not each other?

Continue reading “Sincere Questions About A Worship Service That May Sound Cynical At Times”

The Worship Services – Variety

The Worship Services Download

There is room for a lot of variety,

but also for careful wisdom and reverence.

 

  • It is the main billboard for the church.
  • Worship is commanded for everyone and modeled for groups.
  • With the sermon, the service should be the highest priority for the pastor.
  •  The mood and ingredients will determine the favor with people; our hearts will determine the favor with God.
  • Some parts of the service are prescribed or exemplified: Continue reading “The Worship Services – Variety”

How To Teach For Life Change

It is a main purpose of Bible teaching –

see II Timothy 3:16.

 

Before the lesson, and in general, personal

 

  1. Embrace the Bible as the revealed word and truth of God.  This brings high respect and trust as you prepare.
  2. Decide that your purpose is to explain the one meaning of the text, what God meant when He had it written.  There may be several applications, but only one meaning.
  3. With the help of the Spirit, be sure your own heart is clean to teach more effectively.
  4. Know the sinfulness of the human heart.  People really need what you are going to teach if it is God’s word.
  5. Pray regularly for help to see and teach the real meaning of the Scriptures, and that God’s Spirit and truth will change lives.

Continue reading “How To Teach For Life Change”