Two Tips That Will Improve Your Preaching

There are many things that you can do to improve your preaching. However there are two specific things that will help others understand what you are attempting to say in the sermon. The first of these is to shorten your sermon.

Shorten Your Sermon

While it is true that there are some pretty powerful preachers out there preaching for close to an hour, you are probably not that guy. Personally I shoot for a sermon length between 25 and 35 minutes. A shorter sermon forces you to be more economical with your words and images. In addition, it forces you to stay on the point of the sermon and limit, if not altogether eliminate, irrelevant asides. Both of these things are important for any good sermon. In addition, it will push you to preach “one sermon” and not two or three under the auspices of one sermon.

As I noted above, there are some powerful preachers who normally preach twice that. One preacher who I listen to almost weekly preaches 2 different sermons every Sunday and each of them are 1 hour apiece. While this great preacher can do this very effectively, I don’t think I can, and on average neither can you either. It is interesting that just about everyone who shortens their their sermon gets almost universal praise from the listeners. I encourage you to just think about it.

Add a Celebration

This is another quick thing that you can add to any sermon that will spice it up. You should add a celebration. By that I mean to add a finale to the sermon that holds up the truth of the Gospel presented in the sermon for celebration. When you do this you solidly remind the people of the sermon’s point. In addition, you incorporate both the emotive and the cerebral dimensions of humanity.

Celebration of God’s goodness is an important componenent of all worship services. Thus the climax of the sermon should normally incorporate aspects of this.

Conclusion

Many of the people who ask me to evaluate their sermon outlines or sermon drafts need only slight changes to their mansucript. These changes almost always have to do with trying to do too much in a sermon, or not addressing the emotive dimension of humanity at all. If you follow these two rules, you will be well on the way to more effective proclamation of the Good News.

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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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