Preaching is an art, wouldn’t you agree? It’s a delicate dance that intertwines divine truths with human narratives, a tightrope walk balancing scriptural insights with the pressing needs of the congregation. And let’s be honest, even for the most seasoned preachers, it’s not always smooth sailing.
Have you ever left a sermon wondering where the quoted scripture or studies were referenced? Have you listened to a sermon that felt like it had been running since Genesis and wouldn’t stop until Revelations?
And how about those moments when the preacher seems to be speaking to one person’s situation or skirts around topics that the congregation is genuinely wrestling with? Or perhaps the sermon felt more like a lecture, lacking the captivating power of stories that make biblical truths come alive?
In this blog post, we’re going to dive headfirst into the challenging world of preaching. We’ll unpack some common missteps even well-intentioned pastors can make, and explore how to avoid these hidden icebergs to navigate the pulpit more effectively.
Table of contents
Not Citing Sources – Quotes, Scripture, Studies
How often have we heard a captivating quote or statistic in a sermon, only to wonder about its source? A well-placed quote or study can illuminate a point, but without proper citation, its credibility can be questioned. The same applies to Scripture. An audience can’t follow along or revisit the passage later if the specific reference isn’t mentioned. Accuracy and accountability in citing sources enriches the sermon and fosters trust.
Preaching Too Long
The power of a sermon doesn’t lie in its length, but in its content. A succinct, impactful message can be more potent than an extended one. When sermons stretch on, it risks losing the congregation’s attention and dilutes the central message. It’s about quality, not quantity—each minute should serve the sermon’s purpose and engage the listener.
Preaching At Specific People – Specific Situations
It can be tempting to address specific situations or people from the pulpit. However, this practice can lead to discomfort and create an atmosphere of judgment. Remember, sermons are a time to communicate God’s word to everyone present, not to single out individuals. A more tactful approach involves discussing common issues relevant to the entire congregation, fostering a sense of unity rather than division.
Avoiding Hard Topics
Some topics can be challenging to address. However, avoiding these difficult issues can result in a lack of depth and authenticity in preaching. Your congregation is diverse and faces a multitude of trials; hence, it’s crucial to tackle the hard topics. By doing so, you can provide comfort, provoke thought, and offer a biblical perspective on navigating these difficult areas.
Not Using Stories
Stories are powerful. They engage the listener, create emotional connections, and make abstract concepts concrete. A sermon devoid of stories can feel academic and detached. But when we weave in relevant, relatable stories—be they personal anecdotes, biblical narratives, or examples from history—we bring the message to life. A story-rich sermon can linger in the minds of your congregation long after the service ends, thereby reinforcing the message.
Thoughts on Preaching Mistakes
In the end, understanding and avoiding common preaching mistakes can significantly enhance the impact of our sermons. Each sermon is an opportunity to forge a deeper connection between the congregation and God’s Word. By citing sources accurately, managing our sermon’s length, speaking to everyone, not shying away from tough topics, and using the power of storytelling, we can ensure our messages resonate more profoundly. Remember, it’s not just about delivering a sermon—it’s about engaging in a meaningful, sacred conversation.