September 24th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

Preaching is terribly important.

In fact, it may be more important now than it ever has been. Everyone – both Christian and non-Christians – have some thought, idea, or question about preaching and what preaching should be.

What we like. What we don’t like. Who we believe is effective and who isn’t, all of these issues are front and center in the mind of the hearers when it comes to preaching.

Since Christians spend a good bit of time throughout their lives, sitting in pews and listening to preaching, it’s fair to assume that each would have opinions. Therefore, I’m not surprised to find an increasing number of people asking me about the preaching event and preparation for preaching. In recent weeks I’ve been contacted by preachers, youth ministers, lay persons, elders, and all other stripes of church members about my preaching, their preacher, their preaching, or becoming a better preacher (This is not necessarily because I am a great preacher, but rather because I’ve become well-known and greatly teased for my all too frequent railings about bullet points). To shed some light on my process, I’m going to spend a few posts dealing with – what I hope – is a helpful approach to the weekly homily. I pray I don’t bore my “non-preacher” readers with a shade too much “inside baseball.” Let’s start with a few words from a preaching giant, Dr. Fred Craddock:

[tentblogger-youtube eCCo5RWxqZg]

Share with us: What do you think makes good preaching? 

 

Posted in Bible, homiletics, preaching
June 21st, 2012 | 4 Comments »

Your preacher might be better if they could focus on preaching. It had to be said! Truth is, many churches require so much of their pastor that they hardly have anytime to prepare to preach.

Preparing to preach isn’t always difficult, but it is time consuming.

There’s language study, historical/critical review, prayer, devotional time in the text, reading, reflecting, constructing, importing creative elements, story-building, writing and delivery. Preaching takes time, so does visitation, prayer for the sick, staff meetings and leading, building use and facility concerns, other teaching responsibilities during the week, and hosts of other activities. Some preachers have to handle all these activities themselves, so it’s no wonder some preachers serve up yesterday’s leftovers from the pulpit. It’s easy to flip open the latest book and harvest 3 points here and 5 suggestions there, call it a sermon and go home.

 

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June 19th, 2012 | 14 Comments »

I’m growing evermore concerned about the debased preaching in many American churches. Here’s how it goes, preachers are talking about how sin “pisses off” God or that some people think Jesus “dressed like a fairy,” or that Jesus “wasn’t a wuss.” I’ve even heard one well-known pastor tell a story about dismissing a young man’s theological questions because he was “a loser that lived at home with his mom.” In addition, more and more preachers/church planters/lead pastors – whatever you want to call us – are spending a good percentage of sermon time yelling at their congregations. Trust me, I understand the desire to shake the church from it’s missional malaise, but I don’t think raising the volume is going to work. Churches are dying, not deaf. I suppose all the yelling is designed to communicate passion, but it so often comes across as anger.

I know what these guys (and they are mostly guys) are attempting to get at. They simultaneously want to wake a sleeping church, make her seem cool, and ostensibly help men see a Jesus they can relate to. But I have to question whether or not they need to be Sam Kinison to do it. I find it odd that some feel the need to make Jesus seem cooler or manlier than the versions they grew up with. Not because Jesus is not cool or manly, but rather because in their effort to shape Jesus into their own image, they make the same mistake their forerunners did by simply not allowing Jesus to be Jesus.

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May 9th, 2012 | No Comments »

I haven’t stopped blogging.

And my apologies for the slow coming post. I’m in a busy season, but moreso, Rochelle and I are reimagining what life looks like. This has meant less time in front of screens and more time with one another and our children.

I’m also sending some time this week at Catalyst Dallas – a conference for young leaders. I’ve been once before, but am looking forward to new learnings and engagement with good friends, old and new.

So I’ll be back in the blogosphere next week talking about preaching, family, and leadership. Thanks for your loyal readership

Posted in Bible, homiletics, preaching
April 25th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

You’re preaching stuff you don’t know you’re preaching. Ian Pitt-Watson said, “Sermons are more like babies than buildings. We do not really construct them–they grow in us.” Pitt-Watson partially meant what we discussed yesterday, that the sermon, in important ways, is the product of the preachers inner-life. Pitt-Watson also means that there is homiletical music playing in the background of preacher’s mind – notions, concerns, instincts, experiences, and preferences – that s/he may or may not be aware of. For instance, one of my favorite speakers ends each one of his sermons rehearsing a core doctrine of his congregational and seminary training: Penal Substitutionary Atonement. I’m certain he is sometimes aware of this and I’m sure that sometimes he is not. It’s in the background of his thinking. In some ways he cannot help it.

For your own preaching to grow and become a more robust representation of the gospel, you need to be aware of what you’re preaching that you may not know that you’re preaching. Why? Because the goal of preaching is to say what the text says. Its function is to have the same effect on the congregation as the text was intended to have in its original setting (there are not bullet points in the original text, by the way). Preachers need to unearth their particular background issues so that the hearers hear the Word of God.

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