Preachers live under high expectations.
We stand before a group of people who chose to listen to us because somewhere they got the impression we can explain truths of eternal significance and provide effective preaching on a weekly basis. Many people think effective preachers can instruct them on how to live more meaningful lives. Some even think effective preachers speak on behalf of God. The scary part is that they would all be correct! A sermon possesses incredible life-changing potential. Composing a sermon that lives up to these high expectations can be intimidating.
Powerful, life-changing sermons come in all shapes and sizes. Length or style won’t guarantee effectiveness. Even charismatic eloquence can’t promise success. Whether shared from behind a pulpit or under the lights of a bright stage, great sermons come from effective preachers who know these 3 things:
3 Basics of Effective Preaching
1. Know the Source.
A great sermon doesn’t create news, it shares the Good News. Matthew 7:29 says that everyone was amazed at Jesus because he taught with authority. Other teachers reported based on a history of interpretation from God’s revelation. Jesus is Truth, the living Word, so he spoke without the necessity of reference. You and me…we are not Jesus. (I’m just sayin’.)A great sermon doesn’t create news, it shares the Good News. Click To Tweet
Everything effective preachers share is a reflection of what Jesus (and others) shared. Great sermons aren’t revelations of our own thoughts but observations formed by Scripture. Whether a topical series on a cultural issue or an expository walk through a book of the bible, a great sermon always flows from thorough exegesis of Scripture. Understanding is enhanced by our rich Christian heritage, human reason, and even personal experience. A sermon only meets the high expectation of eternal influence when it flows from the Eternal One.Everything effective preachers share is a reflection of what Jesus (and others) shared. Click To Tweet
2. Know the Audience.
A great sermon shares what people need in the way the people need. Jesus mastered the teachable moment, addressing the pressing question for a particular audience at a specific time. Not every lesson is appropriate at every moment. If we hope to have effective preaching then we would be wise to learn the people and their needs in their context.A great sermon shares what people need in the way the people need. Click To Tweet
Yet having the right answer at the perfect time won’t matter if it is not shared in a way audience can hear. Presentation opens ears, minds and hearts. I once had a person tell me, “Preacher, you preach as long as you want. We leave at noon.” If I hoped to have that audience hear anything, it better be on target and finished well before noon!
3. Know the Preacher.
A great sermon comes from a great God through a willing preacher committed to effective preaching. Ultimately, the pressure isn’t on us preachers to create alone. We must listen. What we hear from God we define through Scripture, refine though learning the audience, and express through our unique gifts. We can and should hone our communication skills, reading and listening to other great communicators. Yet I’m not Billy Graham, Charles Spurgeon, or Andy Stanley. I’m the preacher appointed to this moment with this message from the God who made this preacher and gave him this message.A great sermon comes from a great God through a willing preacher committed to effective preaching. Click To Tweet
Every great sermon possesses the potential to change the trajectory of someone’s life. Our listeners come hoping for such an outcome. What ingredients do you use to craft a great sermon and ensure you regularly engage in effective preaching for your people?Every great sermon possesses the potential to change the trajectory of someone’s life. Click To Tweet
Matt Morris is the lead pastor of Bethel Church in Western NC. He and his wife Kerri and two children reside there and serve a vibrant community of Christ-followers living on mission. || Matt Morris website || @mattcraigmorris