I've been preaching since 1989. And I love doing it. Sharing from God's word is a thrill.
Here are five things I'm learning about preaching...
(1). Keep it biblical. The people in the pews will benefit from scripture more than anything else. There is power in the Bible. Helping folks get more comfortable and familiar with God's word on Sunday can empower them for the rest of the week.
(2). Keep it focused. Decide ahead of time what you want them to learn and then aim your sermon at that alone. I remember my friend Calvin Miller advocated preaching one point sermons. Chasing rabbits during the sermon is counterproductive, but staying on task and focusing in one direction is good for everyone involved.
(3). Keep it practical. After you explain what the scripture meant in its original context, show the congregation how to apply it to their lives today. My uncle, Dr. Phillip Reynolds, told me this years ago: "Every sermon shoułd answer this question: So what? What difference should this scripture make in my life today?" That's so true! The sermon on Sunday should give people something to live out on Monday.
(4). Keep it encouraging. People need to walk out of that church building with hope in their hearts. The preacher needs to remind them God offers forgiveness for their sins, strength for their battles, direction for their decisions, comfort for their aches, and paradise for their future. The world can beat folks down with negativity; however, the preacher can lift them up with The Lord.
(5). Keep it God-centered. He is to be the star and the center of attention from start to finish. The sermon time is not about the preacher strutting his stuff and showcasing his wit, charm, and knowledge. Not at all! It's about putting the spotlight on the one, true, living God of the universe, who is the hope for every man, woman, boy, and girl. He should be the object of attention because He is who everyone in those pews needs most of all.
There is plenty more to say about preaching. I've just hit a few points here. But I'm convinced that if we preachers practice these five disciplines, we'll accomplish the mission and bless the congregation on Sunday morning.
May God help us preach His word with power, focus, clarity, grace, and love every Sunday.