Mark Love Gives Some Preaching Advice Worth Taking

I just read Mark Love’s post entitled, “A Word (or two) to Young Preachers” where he gives five and one half things young preachers should consider in regard to their preaching. If you preach you should read this whether you are young or old. The first two were his best. It boils down to don’t skim over the text and remember that there is more than one volume (loud) and more than one speed (fast) with which to preach. Can you imagine if you had a conversation with someone where you yelled while speaking extremely fast the whole time? I doubt you would have many friends. Anyway, have a read of his thoughts on preaching.

I have had a question about preaching rattling around in my head for some time that I am going to go ahead and ask. So many young people are opting for para-church ministries rather than being on staff at a church. For those who are choosing to be on church staff fewer and fewer are preaching. It used to be that if you were going to be a minister you were going to be a preacher. It was pretty much a given. That is no longer the case. Young people seem to want to avoid preaching. So here it is…for those of you who have preached for some years give your best shot at how you would try to motivate or encourage a young person to preach? What is it about preaching that keeps you coming back to it or keeps you from doing anything else? That is something we rarely get insight into so here is your chance!

HT: Darin Campbell

How to Speak Without Notes – Josh Graves

Josh shares some thoughts on how he prepares sermons to be presented without the use of notes. I found it helpful – No Notes. How do you do it?

In a somewhat related note, you can download Patrick Mead’s keynote from Tulsa here.

How Would You Encourage Someone to Preach?

Less and less people are wanting to preach. It has been a problem for years. There are so many reasons for that but that isn’t what I want to tackle in this post. I would like for those of you who preach to comment on this post giving some reasons or examples of how or why preaching ministry has been a blessing and a benefit to the kingdom through your ministry. I don’t think we hear enough of this so have at it in the comments section!

If You Had One Sermon To Preach

What would it be?

I was reminded this week of Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 where he wrote, “1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”

I can’t help but think his encounter with the risen Lord in Acts 9 was part of the motivation for this statement. When you have come face-to-face with the Lord and walked away blind for a few days until one of the guys you were persecuting takes you in and takes care of you, you have the makings of a very memorable day!

Some times we weave Christ into our sermons but how often do we just preach about Jesus Christ? So that is my goal this Sunday. I am going to talk about who Jesus is and what he did and what that means for us. If that won’t preach, I don’t know what will!

Sermons on Worship and the Water of Life

Just posted two sermons from December.

Living Water – A sermon based on Ezekiel 47 where Ezekiel witnesses water flowing out of the temple, down to the Dead Sea. Life grows out of the low places around the Dead Sea as the water nourishes places that had long been dead. Application – we also have to get out the doors of the building and go to the down and out and struggling to bring them life. The water can’t just stay in the temple…God won’t allow that.

Worship – Based on Romans 12:1-2. Joel, who is our youth minister, and I split the sermon a few Sunday’s ago into two very short sermons. We spent the rest of the service singing and taking the Lord’s Supper. It was a powerful service!


Preaching to Pluralists by Chris Altrock

I have been reading an excellent book by Chris Altrock called Preaching to Pluralists. The book starts with a problem – preaching without recognizing the rapidly changing demographic and cultural landscape in America is less effective than it can be. The solution – engage with the post modern culture, learn what they value and how to communicate in a way that speaks their language. This book is more than just another book about preaching. This book is about re-thinking how we minister, who we minister to, worship, preaching, etc. Normally I would just recommend that preachers read these types of books but this book is a must read for anyone in ministry and I would add anyone who wants to be effective in evangelism in today’s culture. Chris’ book is one that fills the gap that has needed to be filled for some time – a primer on understanding post-moderns in an easily accessible and practical book.

Just to whet your appetite here are a few points of interest that are unpacked in the book:

  • “The seven faces of postmoderns”
    • Uninformed about the basics of Christianity
    • Interested in spiritual matters
    • Anti-institutional
    • Pluralistic
    • Pragmatic
    • Relational
    • Experiential

Chris spends time unpacking each of those…again, a must read if you engage in anyone who is a part of 21st century American culture. that pretty much means all of us, unless you live in the basement and don’t get out. He not only unpacks the culture on each of these points but gives practical suggestions on how preaching can address and be cognizant of each of these seven traits of postmoderns. Last, the end notes are thorough and phenomenal. They are a treasure trove of cultural and preaching related resources.

For more from Chris have a look at his blog.

My favorite Preacher Blooper


Audio from Campus Ministry United Now Uploaded

Wes has posted the audio from the Campus Ministry United workshop that was held at Harding last week. You can dowload/listen to Jonathan Storment, Josh Ross, Lynn Stringfellow, Kerry Cox, Patrick Mead and others. Good stuff that I can’t wait to hear!

Download/Listen here

Dan Edelen Offers An Interesting Take on Getting Back to the Bible

Dan’s post is pretty challenging. He says we should replace sermons for simply reading the text until we read through the whole new Testament one book each week. See what you think…Five steps to transform your church

There are a few great things about this process. First, God’s word is heard in all of its splendor. Second, this opens up a huge amount of time for the preacher to spend time doing some other things that probably needed to get done but never saw the light of day due to lack of time. Third, people will have been through the entire New Testament at least one time. Fourth, this shows we are just this serious about hearing the Word of God.

Assumptions and Communication

Assumptions are powerful. What we communicate has everything to do with the assumptions we have about what is going on, who people are, and what people need. Assumptions usually grow and develop based on things being the same or constant for a period of time so that we begin to expect things will always be that way or at least are currently they way they were at some point in the past. Everything we communicate, in classes, sermons, small groups, etc comes through the filter of our assumptions. If we assume people are the same as they were twenty years ago (in their struggles, knowledge of scripture, and worldview) and don’t make adjustments to the way we communicate, don’t keep up with shifts in culture, or aren’t aware of changes in worldview then we assume that our communication is just as effective as it was five, ten, or more years ago. That may not be true. It is important that we evaluate how effectively our message is making the desired impact on the people we are communicating to.

I remember teaching a Bible class several years ago and referencing something about John the Baptist. I made my point and moved on. I didn’t realize until some time later that they weren’t following me at all because they didn’t really know who John the Baptist was, his purpose, or anything else really. I had failed to communicate because I had assumed they knew some things they didn’t know. Someone in their seat twenty years ago would have been with me but they weren’t. Things have changed and so we can’t assume people haven’t changed. The result is we have to adjust the way we communicate.

You see this in ministries that use events as their main way to minister. Maybe it is an event that used to go well but is now struggling or we watch once vibrant Bible classes slide or Sunday morning attendance take a nose dive. It may well be that our assumptions haven’t changed when they should have. It used to be that if you advertised an event or fellowship activity that people would come no matter what and you could fill the place up with very little effort. That is no longer the case. It is easy to assume that if you say we are having a big church wide event that people will just want to come and they will show up so we don’t tell them what to expect or what is happening at the gathering. People don’t come. They don’t come because our assumptions were not adequate to address the people we are trying to connect with,  therefore, our communication missed the mark and the end result was not as effective as it could have been and less people are reached.

This is true in Bible class and preaching as well. Some of what was relevant 5-10+ years ago is still very relevant today but some isn’t. Our culture has undergone change at the most rapid pace the world has ever seen. Has our teaching caught up? Are we still reaching out in relevant ways? Or do we just continue to assume that if it worked in the past it will continue to work? Assumptions are powerful and if we aren’t willing to change them the effectiveness of our communication will suffer.

I want to share a few tips/questions to ask to make sure our assumptions are still accurate. My primary experience with all of this is more through teaching than it is through preaching. So maybe some of you guys who preach on a more regular basis can offer your insights on assumptions in preaching and how to gain effectiveness in that venue.

  1. Is what you are saying in your class/sermon actually making a relevant point? Some times I thought it was until I get in the middle of delivering it and then find out it wasn’t what I thought. It needed to be more relevant. I just hadn’t considered who I was teaching like I should have. Would the lesson have been relevant to someone? Sure. But what is the point if it isn’t relevant to the people who actually showed up?
  2. Are there people in the room that, because of their differences from me, as the communicator, are getting very little from what I have to say? Let’s face it, we all have the things we like to talk about, the scriptures we love, and the approaches that we like to take in communicating our message. But does that leave some people in the dust week in and week out? I am very logical in my approach and I have to be careful with that because I know some people don’t learn as well thinking linearly like I do. How am I going to teach them in the most effective way at least some of the time?
  3. Read and relate to stay relevant – know the culture through reading relevant literature and through having genuine relationships with people from various generations within the congregation. In doing so you will increase your relevance because you will be better connected with what the real issues are in the church and the world.
  4. Go to someone in your class/sermon audience and ask them what they heard you say in the sermon. See if they got the main point.
  5. Listen to yourself – if your class/sermon is recorded go back through it and see if you said what you were trying to say. What worked and what didn’t? I hate doing this and have only done this on a few occasions but it is time well spent in order to refine the communication process for future effectiveness.

What other things have helped you stay relevant in your ministry? What assumptions have you noticed block that process? What tips do you have to make our communication of the Gospel as effective as possible in a culture that is vastly different than the one many of us grew up in.