In our effort to become better preachers we often learn from the best preachers in our generation. We watch our heroes and take notes gleaning all we can from them.
This, by the way, is a good thing. While you should never seek to copy someone else or become them, you can always learn a great deal from studying best-practices.
But we have a lot to learn not only from our contemporaries, but also from those who have gone before. One leader and preacher who we can learn a great deal from is Paul.
Paul, the Apostle, was not only a top notch theologian who wrote a huge part of the New Testament. He was also a missionary, pastor, church-planter and movement leader. We can gain a lot from watching his life and ministry. In this episode, we'll discover five practical things preachers can learn from Paul.
Prominent mega church pastor, Matt Chandler, steps down for an indefinite leave of absence from his preaching role at The Village Church in Flower Mound, TX. This is due to "unguarded and unwise" interactions between him and another woman on Instagram.
This comes in the wake of many scandals involving high profile pastors stepping down from their roles - some permanently losing their ministries.
But this situation has some nuances that few seem to acknowledge. For far too long, we've seen a lack of accountability in the church. Is this situation different? Did the elders at The Village Church actually do their job?
In this episode, we'll explore the statements from Chandler and Patterson, and draw out some lessons we can take away from this situation as pastors and church leaders.
The days leading up to a sermon can be very stressful for a preacher.
Your sermon content is on your mind constantly. The responsibility of preparing a sermon can be daunting because when Sunday comes you have to deliver.
This is why you need a plan, a guide, a schedule to keep you on track. In this episode, we'll explore the reasons you could benefit from a schedule and how to create one!
Some preachers alliterate their outlines making all their points begin with the same letter.
Sometimes just the main points are alliterated, other times the sub-points are alliterated, still other times the sub-sub-points are alliterated.
At one point it was taught as a great way to organize your message and really get your listeners to remember. To make it stick, alliterate! was the mantra.
But we don’t see as much alliteration anymore - at least not to the extent it was happening in the 90s and 00s. But does it make a difference? Alliterate or not, does it matter?
We'll explore the wonderful wacky weird world of alliterated outlines in this video.
Churches rely on the generosity of their members to fund the church's ministries.
It stands to reason that pastors would want to avoid doing things that end up reducing their members' giving.
But many pastors and church leaders are unknowingly hindering their church's giving. This is according to an article on Carey Nieuwhof's site which we're diving into in this episode.
Fortunately, every one of the five generosity killers is reversible and can be fixed. But you have to know what they are first. Let's dive into it in this episode.
The environment in which we preach is not always friendly towards pastors.
The trust that a person in ministry might have had three or four decades ago has been eroded.
Rather than implicit trust, we are more likely to be met with distrust, doubt and skepticism when people find out we're in ministry.
But we still are called to preach the gospel with confidence. How do we do this?
In this episode, we'll be diving into an article by Ed Stetzer in which he lays out some ways to communicate with confidence in this climate.
For your sermons to be most effective you should have moments of great intensity balanced with moments of relief.
I once preached a sermon on how to change. The sermon was intense because it dealt with the fallen human condition. I talked about addiction, abuse, pain, hang-ups, hurts and everything in between. The general feel of the sermon was intense. It was heavy. When I finished preaching the first of two services that day I could not shake the feeling that the sermon needed some relief. It was too heavy. It was overwhelming in a way that wasn’t productive.
You might be thinking, Wait! Heaviness is good. Intensity is good. People need their toes stepped on! That’s just the Holy Spirit working on them! I don’t deny that some intensity is needed. I don’t deny that God can use the heaviness to move people. And I understand the power of his Word to cut through hard hearts and break down barriers.
But we are communicating with human beings who need to process...
"Shorter sermons are almost always better."
That was the title of one of the first articles I published at Preaching Donkey back in 2014.
I felt strongly that a shorter sermon is a more effective sermon simply because there is less room for fluff and filler.
Over the years I've adjusted my view, and I want to share my thoughts on this issue. Is a shorter sermon better? Is a long sermon preferable? What are some things to consider?
We'll dive into all that in this episode.
Pauses are great. They can add emphasis and give more weight to your point. A well-placed pause is a powerful public speaking tool that you should know how to use.
But the wonderful effect of a pause is destroyed by a terrible public speaking mistake preachers make: the audible pause. What’s an audible pause?
Well, um, it’s uh, um, I think it’s uh… (Sorry, just had to do that).
An audible pause is when you fill in the gaps of your speech with throw away words like “um” “uh” “you know” “like” and others.
These throw away words are a huge distraction, and every public speaker must deal with them if they are going to stand out.
Rooting out these words is way easier said than done, but in this episode we'll discuss what you can do to reduce and eventually eliminate these words from your sermons and speech in general.
There’s nothing like a good snoozer of a sermon. We’ve all sat through them. We’ve all given them at one point or another (myself included).
But what does it take to preach a sermon that makes your listeners fall sound asleep?
What does it take to defy everyone’s ability to pay attention?
If you aspire to give boring sermons that help your people catch up on rest while you preach, there are five easy steps which I'm sharing in this episode!