Preaching is God’s appointed means of communicating the Gospel. Jesus was a preacher and so was Paul. Preaching has great power, potential, and capacity to bring about change in individuals, institutions, and societies. (Mt. 28:19,20). Preaching is one of the most effective ways of drawing people by faith to Jesus Christ. (Mk. 16:15). Historically, preaching has become the principle means of leading, teaching, and feeding the flock of God. (Jn. 21:15-17).
1. If you don’t listen to other preachers, people will not listen to you.
There is a law, of sowing and reaping. If you are not listening to others, why should others listen to you? Keep in mind, Jesus did not call His disciples to be leaders but followers. People love to talk, but first we all need to learn how to listen.
2. Your spirit is more important than your sermon.
We speak from the abundance of the heart, not polished notes. When the message comes from your heart, it touches the heart. Keep your heart pure. Keep your motives clean. Keep your spirit on fire.
3. Microwave messages don’t change lives.
I believe there are microwave and oven messages. One is just information, another is revelation. One cooks in you over time, another is just prepared because you needed to preach on something. One impresses people, another impacts them. Let the message grow in you. Let it cook.
4. Start with people, not your latest insight from the Bible.
When we read the Bible, we get insights that we call revelations. Insights sometime show something amazing in the word of God. A mistake preachers make is to preach something new or something that people say “WOW”, to but it does not help them in their daily lives. Sermons have to take people from their reality to the revelation of Gods standard. For that to happen, we as preachers must start by asking where are our people? Who are we preaching to? What are they going through? What does the word of God say about their situation? Jesus’ sermons were practical, yours should be too.
5. The Holy Spirit gave sermons.
He anointed Jesus to preach. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will tell us what to say when need be. I rely on the Holy Spirit for advice on what to preach. If it’s a series that I do, I look for places in the Bible that will flow with the topic. Sometimes, you will get an impression for a story to use, or you will have a thought or general idea and then more will come later. Its important to start with something. I found out that it’s okay to reuse parts of sermons preached years ago, even re preaching old sermons with newer insight. There is nothing wrong with copying some one else’s sermon, but not every time.
6. Jesus taught using stories, so should you!
Stories and illustrations help to make the truth come alive and make sense to people. That’s why movies are so powerful in this generation. A movie is a story on the screen. The Bible contains a lot of stories of God’s miracles. Jesus used illustrations and even miracles to teach deeper truths. I use my own stories to back up my points. I use other people’s stories (with permission) as well. I research stories. I archive stories that I hear from other preachers. Visual illustrations also help a lot, not just for the youth, but also for adults to see the message, not just hear it. I love using picture and short videos in the middle of the message to help shine a different light on the truth.
7. Know your material.
Get familiar with your message. Practice it until you don’t have to look at the notes. You don’t want your message to come from the notes but from your spirit.
8. Make your sermons noteworthy.
My structure for sermons is usually an introduction, 3 points filled with 2-3 sub points with stories, and an ending. Then afterwards, I usually have 3-4 prayer points based on the message. Sermons have to have points that are easy to repeat and quote.
9. Avoid these words: “I” “God told me”, and “fillers”.
The middle letter of word “sin” is “i”. The middle letter of word “Lucifer” is “i”. The middle letter of word “pride” is also “i”. Avoid using too much “I”s and “you”s, it separates the pew from the pulpit. It’s better to use words like, “us” and “we”. Also, there’s no need to use “God told me” in front of every revelation. Let the revelation speak for you. Let God confirm your words with His signs and wonders. The less confirmation you have from God, the more you need to confirm yourself. Let God do the confirmation for you. Also, most speakers have parasites like “like” or “hmm”. These are distracting and they need to be eliminated.
10. Speak with a natural voice.
Screaming for 50 minutes is not the anointing. It’s annoying unless you are Isaiah Saldivar. Control your voice and your emotions. Have highs and lows in your message. During powerful points add more fire. But during normal points, speak normally. Give people a break from the screaming. Let people respond by saying “Amen!”
11. Honor the clock.
It’s better if you’re going overtime if the Spirit is moving and people are crying! But if you keep going over your allotted time, you will not be given more opportunities to speak. It’s disrespectful. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit is moving and it’s okay. But when you are not connecting with people, and keep dragging on thinking that if you go longer it will lead to breakthrough, it rarely does! It’s better to end it and allow the Holy Spirit to take over during altar call. Also, don’t ask the pastor for 5 more minutes if you know you are going overtime, it’s better now to go overtime than to put the pastor on the spot like that.
12. Physical appearance matters!
Look sharp. Get a hair cut. Smell good. Wear clean clothes. Buy good under shirt that you don’t sweat. Stand tall. Smile. Remember that God looks at the heart, but you are preaching to the people and they look at your appearance. Don’t try to dress to impress, dress to impact! Dress modestly; not to look hot and sexy or cool and modern. My pastor always tells me, “Dress classic, because you don’t know who is watching and who will be rewatching 20-80 years from now!”
13. Welcome feedback!
First, if you can, please rewatch yourself! Don’t ask for feedback if you did not rewatch your message. Many mistakes will be come clear if you just watch or listen to it yourself. If you have a mentor, spouse or pastor who were present there where you preached, ask them for feedback, and DON’T defend yourself when they give you some!
Finally, I like what TD Jakes said about preaching. “Study yourself full, think yourself clear, pray yourself hot, and then let yourself loose.”
I know there are many more tips, so don’t hesitate to share a few more with me that I perhaps missed!
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