If you’re a preacher like me, you are judged by many things, but nothing more than by your sermons you deliver every week. Preaching in an of itself is an art form, so there’s no one ‘right way’ to deliver a sermon. But along the 20+ years I’ve been preaching, I’ve distilled 7 key ingredients that make up a transformative sermon. To help me recall them quickly, I’ve ordered them after the first seven letters in the alphabet. I hope these ingredients are helpful to you (and those you preach to):
A – Authentic. God gave you a unique voice, so use yours, rather than trying to copying the famous pastor down the road. Your sermons have to be true to your personality. If you’re a prophet, then peel the paint off the walls with your bold declarations. This world needs to hear it. If you’re a shepherd, comfort and encourage those in your flock. Personally I’m a jokester at heart so some type of humor will always find its way into my messages.
B – Biblical content. For any message to be transformative it needs to have biblical content strong enough to hold the weight of the message. As Hebrews 4:12 states, it’s the Word that does the work. We just deliver the goods. Sermons can too easily become inspirational speeches with a Bible verse tacked on at the end. That robs the sermon of its transformative potential.
C – Clear. Your message must be simple, direct and clear. Too many communicators preach three good sermons within one message, diluting the potency of each of the sermons. Develop one big idea for the sermon. Word-smith it. Craft it. Curate it, and then drive that point home over and over again. Light bulbs and lasers are both light. Lasers can cut through metal because they are much more focused. Preach like a laser beam. Preach with a clear direction in mind.
D – Daily application. For your sermon to be transformative, it can’t stay inside the church on Sundays. People need to know how to apply your sermons Monday when they go back to work. Jesus himself said that merely hearing the Word without putting it into practice leads to a faulty foundation (Matthew 7). Effective preachers take the guess work out of the application and give their listeners practical next steps from their sermons.