Help Your Preacher Preach Better

Posted: August 4, 2010 in Bible, church, leadership, missional, priorities, productivity, speaking, speech acts

Crazy as it sounds, your preacher might be a better preacher if they could focus on preaching. That’s right, someone finally said it! Truth is, many churches require so much of their pastor that they hardly have anytime to prepare to preach.

Preparing to preach isn’t necessarily difficult week-to-week, 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. All that takes time, but 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. Many preachers have to handle all these activities themselves, so it’s no wonder that frequently many of them 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.

And quite frankly, it’s less costly. The gospel is life-altering! Few people are willing to admit they don’t really care to have their lives altered. Add to that the fact that many preachers pay a heavy price for preaching what’s actually in the text rather than spewing the party line. All that leads to dishing out life-tips and pithy proverbs from the pulpit. A good friend of mine describes his preacher’s messages as “Wisdom for Ole’ Will.” It’s good wisdom, mind you; it’s just not Biblical preaching.

If you ever wonder why your preacher’s preaching is no good or shallow or fluffy or even mean-spirited, you might want to consider if they have enough time for their messages to be otherwise.

One way to change the game and add freshness to the pulpit is to free your preacher to preach. Church leaders need to surround their preacher with encouragement and make it clear to them and to the congregation which tasks their preacher is expected to do well – the first should be preaching. Regardless of the congregants individual druthers, there should be a canon of expectation determined as follows; (1) Things our preacher is expected to do well and (2) Other things they may be expected to do. There is a difference between what someone is expected to do with excellence and what one is simply expected to do. This is basic prioritizing!

There’s a lot happening at every church in America this week, yet only one person (in most churches) will be charged with feeding the entire flock.

And, regardless of what we wish were the case, Sunday morning is our best chance to impact seekers, visitors and Christ-followers alike for Kingdom living and missional impact. Plus, it’s often the only chance we get! Every element of the Sunday experience needs to be clear, powerful and prepared as well as possible. That means your preacher needs to have something worth hearing to say. I’ve known preachers who stay up until 1am Saturday night pasting together a jagged collage of a sermon they had no time to craft during the week. That is both disrespectful to the hearers and dismissive of the Word of God

I’m fortunate to be a place where I can turn on the DO NOT DISTURB light on my phone, shut my office door and craft a message. I hope my church and the Kingdom of God are better because of it. And I wish more of my friends and colleagues were free to do the same. Help them out if you can!


Resources for crafting messages that connect and make an impact.

Fred Craddock’s “Preaching

Andy Stanley  “Communicating For A Change

David Buttrick “Homiletic Moves and Structures

  1. tim spivey says:

    Really good post, Sean. Keep it up, Brother.

  2. […] conversation about how congregant could help their preacher preach better. You can read about those here and here. Today I’d like to turn our attention to how congregations can get the most out of a […]

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