On the Reuse of Sermons

Teresa Fry Brown hits on another important topic as she presents Charles Adams’ 9 suggestions to preachers found on page 164 and 165 of her book Weary Throats and New Songs. This one has to do with re-using sermons.

The book argues that we should not repeat a sermon unless we “filter” it. I have heard homiletics instructors argue over this topic. One of my homiletics teachers stated that you should never re-use a sermon. In this instructors mind, the sermon is so tied to circumstances and situations that it can not legitimately be used again in another circumstance and situation. Certainly there is some truth here. The vast majority of sermons are so closely tied to this situation that it cannot be used again verbatim.

However, as one of my other professors stated, if it is worth preaching once, it is worth preaching again. However that professor would agree with Adams, through Brown, who states that “new experience, new information, [and] new communication” require that the sermon be recast into the new situation.

In addition, sometimes God really gives you a powerful sermon, it would be, in my estimation, poor stewardship to never use the sermon again. We still read the “sermons” found in the Biblical book of Hebrews and yet it still speaks to us today. A great sermon can sometimes do that, but Adams reminds us that we must “filter” the sermon through the lens of the new experience that we find ourselves if it is to speak to the people in a powerful way.

So what do you think? Should we re-use the sermon? How do you make sure that the sermon is worth preaching now.



Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

Posted in blog, Homiletic Theory, Preaching, Preaching Methods
6 comments on “On the Reuse of Sermons
  1. Sheldon Gardner says:

    I see nothing wrong with sending a used sermon through the filter for repolishing & restructuring because of enviromental changes. Noah preached it’s going to rain to the same people for over 120 years. The same sermon to the same people. Preachers now are traveling and preaching at different churches, where the people are different, and current life events have changed.

  2. aqdillman71 says:

    I use sermons over again but rarely, if ever, is it exactly the same. I agree that, if God led us in that direction before then it is still good. A good word is a good word!

  3. Timothy Odom says:

    I truly believe that all scripture has more than one message if filtered correctly ther will always be “fresh oil” to draw from. I try to make it a habit to look at the word from all angles and seek God On the application.

  4. cde nyii says:

    reusing or not depends on the audience.it can be done but with due care on the theme

  5. Michael-Davin Blythe says:

    At the end of every year I prepare to re-preach some of my best sermons from the prior year. reuse of sermons has it’s place but should not be abused

  6. Kenneth Jenkins says:

    I believe that sermons could be re-used again but at a different place and time.

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