4 Must Do's of Sermon Illustrations (To make your message come alive)

sermon prep Feb 02, 2023

As a preacher you want to make your ideas come alive. When you labor preparing a message and perfectly craft your points you’re not thinking, "I’m sure this will be altogether unremarkable, but I’ll give it a try!"

No, you’re thinking, "How can I make them see this and feel it and be changed by it?"

We all want this because, what good is it if you make a great point, but no one feels it? If no one does anything with it?

An effective illustration is the secret sauce that makes your listeners grab onto your ideas on an emotional level. A good illustration will reach out and grab your listeners and pull them into your content. It will make them care.

But how do you use illustrations for the maximum impact? You can have a killer illustration that you misuse and have it fall flat. You can give a great illustration at the wrong time and have it lose its punch. You can have an amazing story that you tell poorly, or an interesting analogy that doesn’t quite...

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My 4-Step Sermon Outlining Method (It's great, trust me ;)

sermon prep Jan 26, 2023

There is almost nothing more important to sermon preparation than your outline.

It is the structure upon which your sermon is built. Without an outline that takes people on a compelling, purposeful journey your sermon will seem aimless.

If your sermon is aimless, people will not give it their attention.

In this episode, I'm going to show you my four-step sermon outlining method. It will give you a framework for building sermons that take people on a meaningful path toward life-change.

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Why You Need a Preaching Team (Complete Beginner's Guide)

sermon prep Jan 12, 2023

Preachers do weird things. One weird thing we do is prepare our sermons alone.

Every week you have to get up in front of a group of people and say words.

Those words have to be engaging, powerful, motivating, encouraging, accurate, practical and spiritual all at the same time.

Every. Single. Week.

And you prepare alone. All by yourself.

I think this started with Moses. He went up on a mountain and heard from God. He came down and told the people, “This is what God said.” We’ve never really changed the model. Preachers have been preparing sermons alone ever since.

I used to prepare my sermons alone. I would read commentaries, watch sermons and research articles, but it was mostly just me, by myself.

If you’re like most preachers, you prepare alone. But is there a better way? Could you benefit from bringing others into the process? The answer is yes, and in this episode, I'm going to show you how!

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Three questions to ensure your sermon is ready to preach

sermon prep Nov 30, 2022

With each sermon you preach, you should be absolutely crystal clear what you want your people to take away from it. If you are murky about how they’ll be able to use your message, then you can be sure they’ll be clueless.

As preachers who want to communicate well, clarity must be a top priority in every sermon. But it’s easy, and sometimes necessary, to focus most of your prep time on your content and not your listeners. This makes it so crucial to think through how your listeners will receive and use your message.

In this episode, I want to give you three simple tests that will help you ensure that your sermon is ready to go in terms of its impact on your listeners and their ability to apply it.

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Four things competing for attention when you preach

sermon prep Nov 23, 2022

It’s more important than ever before to work on gaining and keeping the attention of your listeners while you preach. Capturing and maintaining attention is one of the most difficult things a communicator must do.

The reason we have to work harder to gain and keep attention has to do with what competes for the attention of our people every time we preach.

Our listeners are so distracted, and we need to know what we’re up against. Some of these distractions are new, and some are as timeless as humanity, but they are all present every time you stand up to preach.

In this episode, we'll dive into four things that compete for your people’s attention when you preach - and what to do about them.

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Are we misunderstanding the Holy Spirit's role in sermon prep?

sermon prep Nov 04, 2022

Sermon preparation can be vexing.

It's important to put in the necessary hard work and deliver a sermon that is worthy of a listen.

But when I write about the importance of working hard at sermon preparation, well-meaning people sometimes respond with this argument:

"Just let the Holy Spirit guide you! No need for all this work."

It is their desire to protect the purity of the process and not tarnish it with technique. They see preaching as this otherworldly exercise that the Holy Spirit superintends.

In their view, the work of the Holy Spirit is thwarted when the preacher makes an effort to improve his preaching.

In this episode, we'll look at why this is a misunderstanding of the Holy Spirit's role in sermon prep.

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Two VITAL Questions to Ask BEFORE Preaching any Sermon

sermon prep Oct 20, 2022

Often when I am preparing a message, I'm asking myself, "What is the point I'm going to make in this message?"

Granted, that's a valid question. But there is a more important question to ask that goes a level higher than that: What's my objective for this message?

To know if you were successful at something you’ve tried, you have to know what you were seeking to accomplish. This is true in every area of life but especially in preaching.

This is why I nail down the objective of my message early on in the process of writing it. The objective drives the process from there.

In this episode, I will show you how to arrive at the objective for a message and lay out one more vital question you must ask before writing any sermon.

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How to Preach on Controversial Topics (9 helpful tips)

sermon prep Oct 06, 2022

As a preacher you should never shy away from tough topics. If the Bible addresses an issue, you should too.

You want to help your listeners have a holistic view of how biblical truth intersects with every aspect of their lives. But the more controversial the topic the more important it is to handle it with care.

I have preached on topics ranging from what the Bible teaches about alcohol consumption, to sex and sexual issues, to marriage, and financial giving.

Along the way, I have learned a few things about how to approach these types of sermons, and I would like to share with you. In this episode, we'll dive into nine tips for preaching on controversial topics.

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Two DANGEROUS Motivations for Preaching

sermon prep Sep 29, 2022

As preachers we must guard against a prideful spirit. It is a trap that can destroy our effectiveness and our ministries. But we need confidence in order to boldly proclaim God’s word. A tension exists between pride and confidence.

Most of us would say that being confident in our abilities is generally good, but being prideful in ourselves can be detrimental. We know that the Scriptures contain harsh warnings against pride. You can be a confident person without being prideful, but it often seems like a fine line.

A closely related character trait to pride and confidence is fear. Fear can be a huge inhibitor. Most of us bounce back and forth between pride and fear. Sometimes we’re prideful of our accomplishments looking for others to notice how awesome we are and validate us. Other times we are insecure in our abilities and fearful of what other people might think.

Thus there is an ongoing struggle for what motivates our preaching. We must be motivated by the right...

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How to Get More Helpful Feedback on Your Sermons

sermon prep Sep 22, 2022

There are few things more vulnerable than preaching. If you do it right, it is a moment when you bare your soul for the world to see. So it makes sense that you wonder what people think of your preaching.

You want to know if your sermon worked. Sometimes you just want someone to tell you that you did great so you don’t feel as awful about your mediocre sermon (we’ve all been there).

Most of us walk away from a sermon we’ve preached with this resounding thought: Validate me, tell me how great my sermon was because I need to feel worthy as a person!

Categorically positive feedback is acceptable from your mom or your spouse. Everyone needs someone cheering them on.

But you have to pursue more meaningful feedback from others if you want to get better. You should seek feedback that actually makes a difference. You want the kind that tells you if your sermons are doing what they’re supposed to do – making an impact.

But most people don’t give this kind...

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