What types of sermons are America’s best preachers* preaching? That’s the question that drove me in my recent quest to improve my own preaching ability. The result is a website I’ve created (sermonwarehouse.com) which is an online community of preachers dedicated to getting better together. I’ve preached every week for almost 20 years and I’ll hopefully preach for another 40. I never want to stop learning, so I’ve spent the last month cataloguing and indexing over 500 sermons (and counting) from today’s best preachers to help me communicate better. Here’s what I’ve discovered along the way:
1. Very few preachers are preaching verse-by-verse. Less than 5% of the sermons I indexed were of the verse-by-verse variety. Most of the largest and fastest growing churches are preaching topically through series.
2. Most preachers are conversational as opposed to yellers. Long gone are the days of the ‘preacher’s voice,’ where a speaker would intone a deep baritone resonance (think Charlton Heston) to sound more spiritual. Most preachers speak in a tone and cadence that you could easily find in a coffee shop.
*Obviously the term ‘best preacher’ is a non-binding description. Many people have their own favorite preacher, and some times preaching ability has no correlation to church size. I get all that, but I needed a metric to determine which preachers to study. So I utilized Outreach Magazine’s 100 Fastest Growing and 100 Largest Churches. Attendance doesn’t mean everything, but with over 500,000 listening to these preachers every week, I figured there was something I could learn from them.