Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Sermon Preparation.

There has been a bit of blogging done around blogdom regarding preaching, preachers and sermon preparation. C.J. Mahaney from Sovereign Grace ministries lists some chapters from various books that he recommends preachers read. I like the way he does this, recognizing the limited amount of time and the plethora of books out there that threaten to overwhelm a already busy pastor.

He also blogs an excellent post about how the preacher Stands in the stead of God

Justin Moffatt, whom I mentioned in my previous post, and whom I called Justin Taylor by accident also has blogged a fair bit recently regarding sermon preparation and you can read his MO here by scrolling down the page. His 5 points being,

    1. 1 Reading
    2. Listening:
    3. Preparing a Structure
    4. The Writing, Practicing and Culling.
    5. Lastly, there are some questions that are good to ask:
There has been much written about which is the best form of sermon, mainly being topical or expository and so I'm not going to enter into the debate about that here.

I thought I would throw my thoughts into the blogging ring about sermon preparation which comprise of only 3 points. Now I have to admit that these 3 points are not original, for I heard Dudly Foord share them at one of our church retreats 5 years ago when he was talking about the direction of focus that the mission of our church should take. His three points were,
  1. Upwards
  2. Inwards
  3. Outwards
Those points have stayed with me since then and I have preached a few times using those specific points and used them for a essay I wrote regarding the gift of Tongues and how they have a Upwards, Inwards and Outwards value.

I have been thinking a lot about preaching lately and it hit me today that every sermon should have these 3 elements in it and if it doesn't then the preacher hasn't really done their job.
  1. The preacher has to preach Upwards towards our living God, through the cross, using His word.
  2. The preacher has to preach Inwards applying the word of God to build us up, to comfort, encourage, rebuke if need be.
  3. The preacher has to preach Outwards - equipping us to go and live, engaging in the world we live.
If the preacher fails to do all those things then the sermon will become one of three things; an intellectual lecture about God that doesn't engage the heart. A self motivation, self gratifying speech, or fluffy dribble about love and tolerance without any substance.