Stealing Sermons

The pastor was unusually eloquent. He preached with power and the people sensed a special move of God. While the Pastor usually preaches well, this time he really brought it home. Imagine my surprise when I was reading a book of Sermons from the divinity library and found that that Pastor had stolen a sermon word for word. After that I paid more attention and on another occasion saw another of that Pastor’s sermons on the internet.

I have been told that stealing sermons is almost at epidemic proportions and some pastors even defend it. Michael Duduit has written of this in his blog. He notes that some of the pastors of the largest churches in American

admitted, curiously, the same thing. They get approximately 70 percent of their messages each week from other people word for word according to them. They fill in their own personal illustrations and stories, of course. Two of the guys that I am thinking of as I write this have churches of more than 10,000 in attendance each weekend.

Then these guys go on and actually put down the idea of creating your own sermon. Duduit reminds us as preachers that first of all stealing sermons is plagiarism and palming them off as your own is unethical. Duduit also says that regularly preaching someone elses sermon is actually taking from you the struggle with the text to determine what God is saying.

Finally Duduit gives a very interesting quote: “If you are too busy to prepare sermons, then you are too busy to preach.” I agree…If God has called you to give a message to a particular congregation then God has called YOU to find and deliver the word of God to the people. If you can’t do that due to time constratints then you must cut back on something.

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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.

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Revised Common Lectionary
Proper 14 (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
  • Psalm: Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b
  • Epistle: Romans 10:5-15
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
Af Am Heritage Lectionary
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