Yelling Ain’t Gonna Fix A Broken Sermon

Angry businessman shouting instructions into megaphone

“I don’t know what’s wrong, but it just didn’t feel right.” A middle aged man told a woman, presumably his wife, at a Christian book store.

Yeah, I know, my wife tells me I need to stop listening to other folks conversations, but hold on, I got a point…

The woman answered, “What are you talking about that man can PA-REACH. He brought the house down on that last point.” Read more ›

Posted in 11Fiction, blog

Sermon Is The Key To The Worship Service

The sermon is the key to the worship service. People like to hear the music and sometimes it can sooth in ways that only music can soothe.

Sometimes prayer touches us in powerful ways. But the key is the sermon. Think about that for a moment. 200, or 100, or 50, or 10000 people sit in front of you to hear a word that is desperately needed this week.

They have come to hear what God has given to you to give to them. Yes, we must spend a lot of time thinking through and planning the rest of the worship service, but we cannot forget how important this word from on high is to your hearers. Read more ›

Posted in Black Church, blog

Celebrate This Sermon, Not Last Week’s Sermon

christian music concert with raised hand

“God opened that door for ya, ain’t that right?”

“God picked you up, ain’t that right?”

“God turned you round, ain’t that right?”

“Somebody knows bout a God who can make a way out of no way…”

Perhaps you have heard a celebratory close like that. Is it a good one?” Well maybe. It all depends on whether your sermon was about “God opening doors.” Or “God picking you up.” Or “God turning you round.”

You see, a sermon close should be intimately connected to the sermon itself. Like the old folks use to say, “Your meat should make it’s own gravy.” Or as I say, “Let your content do the shouting.” Read more ›

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Posted in 11Instruction, blog

Does your sermon have a text?

Dictionary with an magnifying glass on top

“Hey Doc, I got a sermon, can you help me find a text so that I can preach it?” A young preacher asked me through email.

He was so excited. He immediately began to talk about his points. He had three of them. They built on each other. And then he had his celebrative sermonic close.

However, he was missing a key ingredient. That was the text.
Read more ›

Posted in blog

They May Shout, but do They Remember?

Some folks judge the effectiveness of their sermons by how many people are shouting or running down the isle.

Now, there should be an emotional response to our sermons, but if your people only remember they were happy and don’t remember what they were happy about then there is a great issue.

I remember a preacher telling me he was walking the halls during one of the popular preaching conferences and there were preachers practicing whooping. They were whooping “Mary had a little lamb.”

I am sure it sounds good, but your people deserve better than that. Somebody said that your content makes its own gravy, and I agree completely.

Read more ›

Posted in blog, Uncategorized

Rest and Preaching. Have you Recharged Your Engine?

African man sleeping at his workplace in office

“I am tired, I just need some time off.” A preacher said to me on a Facebook IM. I asked him, so why don’t you take a day off?”

He frowned. Then he asked me, “What do you mean?”

I laughed and said, “I mean take one day off. No work, no sermon prep. Spend some time with your family.”

“You don’t understand, there is too much ministerial work to do.”

I asked him, “So assign work to an associate and take time off.”
Read more ›

Posted in 11Instruction, blog

Three Blessings of Flunkersville

It has happened to all of us.

We get into the pulpit with a little more confidence than we aught to have and begin to preach.

We stand up like we always do and we begin to preach. However, the people don’t respond. Nobody appears to be hearing a thing we have prepared.

In non-technical terms we layed an egg or as some say, we went to flunkersville.

Most of us have been there. It is not a good feeling, however today I want to talk to you about the benefits and blessings of flunkersville.
Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized

Preaching To Wake Up Your People

I had to work very late. It was 1:30am.

Yep, 1:30 am.

For a guy in his mid-40s, that meant two things. I was going to be sleep walking that day. and I I had to work till 1:30am. First, it meant that I was going to be sleep walking the whole day.

Second, it meant that I was going to go to miss anything that needed to be done later the next day.

I tried a lot of things, but I did nothing that day. I then went straight to sleep when I got home.
Read more ›

Posted in 11Instruction

Use What You Have

young black African American ethnicity student girl studying pile of books on library desk preparing exam in stress reading textbook concentrated in youth education concept
A preacher called me and asked for a list of books to buy to help his preaching. I gave him this list:
1) They Like To Never Quit Praising God by Frank Thomas (
2) The Practice of Preaching by Paul Scott Wilson (
3) The Heart of Black Preaching by Cleophus LaRue (
My preaching friend said he has those, do I have any other suggestions.

Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized

Emotion in Preaching

Dark skinned young business professional screaming, MBA student, or such, isolated on white

Sometimes preachers declare that style is always secondary to content in preaching. The preacher should make sure that the people are receiving good content, and if the people are exposed to good content every week, the people will be weaned off of the use of emotion which will cloud the mind. At least that is what some would argue. In fact, if you do a good job, so the argument goes, you can deliver the sermon in a calm objective lecture style and it will be just as effective as if sweat were dripping for your brow as you yell the sermon at the top of your voice.

Now I would agree that vocal volume is not the only way to increase intensity, but I would strongly disagree with this attempt to privilege calm preaching over fiery preaching. In addition, I would not want to say you must be yelling to be a great preacher, but emotion must be a part of real preaching if it is to effect the whole person and not just the mind.
Read more ›

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Posted in blog, Preaching, Preaching Methods
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