One of the biggest problems preachers face is the creation of “Saturday Night Specials.” Anyone who has been preaching for a while knows that these are sermons that were conceived on Saturday night before preaching it on Sunday morning. Sermons thrown together in such a short time often have little of the theological depth and power that is needed to address our people in these days.
What is the answer? I believe that sermon planning will help allviate this great problem. Sermon planning consists of determining in general terms what you will preach in the forseable future. Some preachers plan a year in advance. Some preachers a month. One preacher always preaches a month long series.
Sermon planning requires a little work up-front, but it actually reduces your workload. When you plan ahead of time, you will find that you can more easily re-use exegetical material that you ahve labored over in the past. This is especially true when you preach in a series. Sermon planning takes away the first chunk of time that is dedicated to the age old qeustion “What will I preach about.”
Sermon planning also helps the parshioners consume the sermon. They know what is coming and can prepare. They often can find questions from last week answered in later weeks. Also it gives the impression that the preaching ministry of the preacher is going somewhere.
I would wholeheartely encourage all preachers to consider putting together a sermonic plan. Then your people will no longer have to listen to you tack a whoop onto a poorly conceived piece of drivel.
I am showing my age, but I can remember a television commercial where an elderly woman looked at a hamburger that was served to her from a fast food joint and asked the then popular question “Where’s The Beef?”
As I listen to much preaching today, I have to ask myself, “Where’s the Beef?” When people go home with tired limbs from exercising, but without a touched heart, I have no question but to ask “Where’s the Beef?” When members go home telling everyone that “The pastor Sho Nuff Preached” and yet can’t even answer what scripture was used or what was the preacher’s main point, I must ask “Where’s The Beef?”
I love Black Preaching, but I am sick to my stomach of preachers using a whoop to hide a lack of solid engagement with the text. I love black preaching, but it makes me cringe in horror as our noble craft is desecrated by the hands of a hack who has obviously not read the text.
And I am very scared that many of our people don’t have any idea that what they are receiving is pablum and not food. Dear preachers, don’t serve junk. Don’t betray your Lord and Your people and Your heritage by using celebration like that.
After pushing I realized she was talking about a shout and a sermon that speaks to her daily living. She wanted a preacher to help her deal with the troubles and cares of this world.
All of that is good, but I wanted to know if the preachers biblical exegesis mattered? Did it matter if the preacher was using the Bible or simply pulling thoughts from the air? Did it matter if the preacher spoke of how to be an effective witness for Christ rather than just about how to feel good about our circumstances. Did it matter if the preacher helped the people love God and God’s people better or just that the preacher shouted when the preacher preached?
Well my friend told me that she didn’t want to hear dry doctrine but have a living connection to God. At the end of the day, I still don’t know if my friend cares about a Gospel that changes the person into a better picture of the Most High God or doees she just want to shout about a God that will make her feel better down here.
But as preachers, we must bring that word. A powerful word that will change even those who have come just to shout and go home unchanged. It is our job to bring these people face to face with the God that will bring the possibility of change to all who have the audacity to come into that God’s presense.
Great preaching must engage the mind. I don’t know how many times I have heard a preacher get up there and simply attempt to engage the emotions. These preachers get a shout but don’t help the people in reality. Too often the congregation simply lets them off the hook. Don’t let someone serve you slop week after week and then throw sugar on top. Dung is dung even if there is a celebration at the end.
No great preaching requires solid exegesis. It requires an interaction with the scripture. This is not your one minute glance for something to shout about, but an internal look for what God is saying to lead this congregation forward.
But yes, great preaching does have an emotive dimension. No matter how great your content is, if you are not excited by it, how can you expect someone else to be. Great preaching requires an interaction with truth that is so real that it jumps off the page into the feet, head, heart, and hands of the preacher. And then after having done that, the people will be able to say “I looked at my hands, and they looked new, I looked at my feet, and they did to.
Great preaching must engage the head and the heart. It is time for preachers to stop shirking their duty and to be true to both. Is that not why God called you?