Showing posts from June, 2014

A Preacher's Cheat-Sheet for Prayer and Final Sermon Prep by Tim Challies

Preparing a sermon is one of the most gratifying and the most difficult tasks you’ll ever face. There is joy in finding meaning in the text, in finding structure, in developing just the right outline, in discovering the perfect illustration. But there is also labor and, at times, intense spiritual warfare. I am a relative newcomer to preaching, and as I’ve prepared sermons I’ve relied on others to teach me how to pray and how to prepare. Here are two lists that have been very helpful to me. I combine them into what I affectionately call my Preacher’s Cheat-Sheet. Praying For A Sermon A couple of years ago Mike McKinley shared " 8 Ways to Pray During Sermon Preparation ." I found those eight ways to pray tremendously helpful and have been following them ever since. I pray in these ways at the beginning, middle and end of my time of preparation. 1. Lord, please help me to understand the meaning of this text and how it points to Christ. 2. Lord, please increase my lo

Don't Kill Your Message! by Carey Nieuwhof

If you’ve ever spoken in front of a group, tried to motivate a team, or if you prepare messages almost every week like many of us do, you’ve probably wondered what makes for a great talk. In fact, you’ve probably asked questions like these: What’s the difference between a talk that flops and a talk that people still buzz about years later? What’s the difference between a merely good message and an incredibly great message? What’s the difference between a sermon that changes someone’s life and one that no one can remember even as they drive out of the parking lot? If you’re like me, those questions might even bother you. I hope they do. They haunt me. And yet every week gifted communicators kill the messages they bring by making at least seven predictable, fixable mistakes. The good news is that once you identify the mistakes, you can address them. 7 Ways Communicators Kill Their Messages I’m writing from the perspective of a Christian who speaks. And as  I wrot

Thom Rainer: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Preachers

I sometimes listen to preachers with amazement, if not awe. So many of them are incredibly effective in communicating God’s Word, so much more effective than I ever was or will be. I certainly understand that assessing effectiveness is a very subjective assignment. But, simply put, a number of preachers I have observed are incredible in explaining and applying the Word. As a consequence, God changes lives and saves people. The best I can do is be a student of these preachers and share with you seven key habits I have observed in most of them. I regularly ask these preachers about the way they go about preparing, preaching and evaluating their messages. My list is fallible, but I do hope it’s helpful. 1. They give preaching a priority in their ministries.  A pastor has a 24/7, always-on-call schedule. It’s easy to let sermon preparation slide with the demands of the moment. The outstanding preachers I know give preaching a very high priority. They make certain they put the hours in