Believe it or not, I’ve often reflected how well my sermon went by using baseball terms. Most of my preaching, I think I get to first or second base and even scored a run once in a while! However, there have been times I’ve hit a foul ball or two, and yes, there are times I feel like I struck out. Rarely do I think I hit a home run. Maybe because I think that assumes too much and I always feel like I could have done better.
That brings me to my point: We all can improve in our preaching! And we should always be looking for ways to hit home runs!
How important is preaching to your ministry? One Gallup poll indicated that 76% of people still choose a church based on the quality of the preaching. Yikes! If we continually blow the sermon, people will not come back and even worse, our own people will start looking over the fence.
Don Sunukjian, a preaching professor at Biola University, says all effective preaching contains four essential elements. The good news is that they are attainable. Here the four keys to hitting a home run sermon with my own comments:
1) It must be biblical. This may go without saying, but it ain’t a sermon without scripture. If the message is not grounded in the Bible, it’s simply a talk. Whether you are teaching expositionally or topically every point must come from the Word!
2) It must be logical. You can’t wing a sermon. We can be tempted to run down the random rabbit trails that come to our mind as we teach, but that’s usually a mistake (unless it is the leading of the Spirit). Great preaching requires discipline to stay on the topic. Only as we stay on track can people track with us!
3) It must be engaging. Here’s a principle I’ve applied to my messages. If I don’t think it’s interesting and challenging, the chances are that no one else will either. Our messages must be compelling.
4) It must be practical. Sermons must be relevant. We have to answer the question, “So what?” Great preaching bridges the principles of God’s Word with daily living.
BEFORE YOU GO
Do you want to hit more home run sermons? Please join me at the next online training. It will be 9 one-hour sessions every Tuesday beginning Sep 10 at 2pm. We’ve paid the costs, so this is free to you!
So, register now for this fall’s online-learning, The Art of Better Teaching with Carey Nieuwhof and Mark Clark, Tuesdays at 2 pm beginning Sep 10. Register here.