Both written and oral words are opportunities for the Holy Spirit to communicate with power. Written words, however, are subject to the editor’s judgment before going public. The extemporaneous nature of preaching, on the other hand, while engaging, can also produce unhelpful words that distract from the message of God. Anyone who preaches feels the weight of this, and we have all replayed unforced errors in our mind on Sunday afternoon only to hold out hope for a forgiving, or at least a forgetful, congregation. So prayer, sound exegesis, and common sense help us to preach better sermons. Avoiding these four phrases falls into the latter category.
Illustrations also help the listener to understand your points, especially the more abstract or theological ones. You know those technical manuals that “help” you put together cheap furniture? That’s your sermon without any illustrations. They may get the job done, but nobody will enjoy them. Where do I get my sermon illustrations? I have five key sources.
I’ve seen it far too many times. Upon exchanging general pleasantries, there is a look and a sigh that says it all. This pastor is beaten up. He is hurting. Talking further reveals that he feels as stable emotionally as a Jenga tower engineered by a 5-year-old. Some guys geta beating from their elders, others from church members, and still others from the outside. They are reeling and wounded.
It’s December, and the Christmas season is upon us. As I look back on my years as a senior pastor, I think of things I would do differently during this season today if I were again a senior leader in a church. Here are some of those things:
Many churches today—especially newer church plants in America—are rejecting Sunday school classes in favor of small groups. Others have rejected small groups in favor of more traditional Sunday school classes. What we should reject is the false dichotomy between Sunday school classes and small groups.
The ‘About Us’ page on your website is often the ‘go to’ place visitors readily seek out to quickly learn about your organization. Does this page help visitors instantly know who you are as a church and what you believe? Can visitors find this information on your website in under 20 seconds? These are important questions to consider as you review your website’s viability and effectiveness.