Category Archives: Preaching Instruction

10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Pastor Right After the Sermon

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By Thom Rainer

I’ve actually assembled more than ten things church members have told pastors immediately after they preached. But these are ten responses where pastors have had the most visceral reactions.

  1. “I am going to be late for lunch because you preached so long.”
  2. “You must not have had much time to prepare that sermon.”
  3. “My former pastor preached a much better sermon from that text.”
  4. “I wish {fill in the blank} would have heard that sermon.”
  5. “You act like you weren’t feeling well while you preached.”
  6. “I’m sorry I fell asleep while you were preaching. Your voice just puts me to sleep.”
  7. “Your subject/verb agreement was incorrect three times in your sermon.”
  8. “I wish you wouldn’t preach from the Old Testament.”
  9. “Let me tell you what you missed in your sermon.”
  10. “Are we ever going to be done with this sermon series?”

Pastors often take 10 to 20 hours to prepare a sermon. They pray for God to speak through them. They preach with conviction and fervency. And then they hear one of these sentences.

These ten responses are close approximations of what pastors have actually told me. I am sure there are many more. Let us hear what they are.

 

ThomRainer

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on March 2, 2015. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

Prepare Better Sermons in Less Time

desk[Make sure and scroll to the bottom to get a 15% discount on Logos 6!]

By Ryan Nelson

Writing quality sermons takes time and energy pastors don’t always have. Discovering new insights can take hours of research, and assembling those insights can take hours. Logos Bible Software was built with pastors in mind—the more you use it, the more time it saves you.

Here are four ways Logos saves pastors sermon-prep time:

1. Turn personal study into powerful quotes
visualcopyVisual Copy is a powerful new tool available in Logos 6, and pastors can’t stop talking about it. With a click, Visual Copy turns any quote you highlight into a compelling quote slide, so you can build your sermon while you study. These slides also work great for social-media or blog posts (I used Visual Copy to create a post with Charles Spurgeon quotes). You can send slides straight to PowerPoint, Proclaim, or your social networks.

Logos 6 also comes loaded with hundreds of slides that cover every book in the Bible and visually compelling art for the most popular preaching topics. When you pick a passage you want to use or a theme to preach on, the images you need are right there in the same place you study.

Logos helps you make a smooth transition from study to sermon. Start your presentation with Visual Copy without interrupting your research.

2. Find everything there is to know about . . . anything
everythingsearchWhen you need more information on a verse, topic, person, place, or anything else you encounter in your studies, look it up with the Everything Search. This tool hunts through your entire library to find everything you could possibly need to start your sermon: media, Atlas maps, dictionary links, Bible references, commentaries, and more. Everything Search assembles all your advanced search tools, so you can see all the information your library has to offer about your search.

Everything Search is like your personal research assistant; Logos’ Factbook is your microscope. When you need focused results, Factbook takes all that information and arranges it like an encyclopedia. If you search for a person like Charles Spurgeon, Factbook gives you a short biography, famous quotes, links to key words, and relevant events in the Timeline tool. The same search on any book on the Bible pulls up Bible-verse art, overviews, key events, outlines, authorship, historical data, themes, and more. Factbook helps you spend more time preparing your message and less time wondering where to begin.

Logos 6 makes serious study simple. Get in and learn what you need, so you can get out and share it.

3. Bring ancient context to the modern church
culturalconceptsOne of the hardest parts of bringing the Bible to the context of our congregation is understanding the context in which it was written. Without understanding ancient culture, we might apply or interpret Scripture incorrectly—and worse, share our misconceptions with our church. Word choice, imagery, and concepts can all have completely different meanings in the context of ancient Judaism and early Christianity. What may seem insignificant to the modern reader could have meant the world to an ancient writer, and vice versa.

Logos 6′s new Cultural Concepts tool sheds light on over 1,000 concepts like music, food, burial practices, traditions, and titles you find throughout the Bible. You can see what they refer to in the Bible, other verses where they appear, and how they were used in other ancient literature.

Logos lets you explore cultural concepts and ancient literature, so you can bring fresh insights to your modern church.

4. Fight writer’s block with tools that spark sermon ideas
Logos has a custom search tool designed with pastors in mind. Search over 200 of the most popular sermon topics, and the Sermon Starter Guide retrieves key passages, excerpts, thematic outlines, illustrations, quotes, sermons, journals, and more. Say you have a big sermon coming up on the Resurrection. The Sermon Starter Guide lets you indicate exactly what you mean by “resurrection”—Jesus, his resurrection, and ascension. From there, you can see how Timothy Keller and others have preached on the resurrection of Christ, browse illustrations, quotes, prayers, and passages, and get started with an outline. With Logos 6, your library is packed with more sermons and tools for pastors, so the Sermon Starter Guide is more valuable than ever.

Watch this video to learn more:

Start writing better sermons, faster
As one of our readers, right now you can get a special 15% discount on Logos 6. Use coupon code PASTORSHELPER6 at checkout. Go to: www.logos.com

Save hours on sermon prep, so you can pour that time back into your family, your ministry, and your life. Do yourself a favor and get Logos 6.

How To Write Four Sermons at a Time

foursermonsBy Barry L. Davis

Before I was called into ministry I was a cabinet-maker. Most of the cabinets we made were store fixtures for places like The Limited and Victoria’s Secret, as well as furniture, conference tables, and other high end pieces for law libraries. Even though It was custom work built on a bench and not an assembly line, oftentimes there were multiple units needed of the same item. For instance, if it were a law library we would build multiple shelving units and multiple desks. Rather than cut material for each individual item, we would figure out the pieces we needed, and then multiply that by the number of units we needed to build. When all the pieces were cut, we would then assemble them. This saved a lot of time and also assured that quality standards were the same for each unit.

Awhile back I decided to apply the same principle to my sermon writing. Since I usually preach in series, it made sense to put together the whole series at once, rather than working on each sermon by itself. As you’ll see, each individual message gets its own personal attention, but writing multiple sermons at once results in better preparation, better use of time and resources, and is much more efficient in every way. I would estimate that my preparation time has been cut in half.

I am going to give you the basic principles for how I prepare multiple messages at once, but I am not going to go into great detail on basic sermon preparation. In other words, I am assuming you have done the proper Bible study, prayer, commentary reading, and other background work. This is simply the practical nuts and bolts of building a sermon series.

1. Name your series and how many messages there will be (“four” in the title is just an example).

For our example we will stick with four. Get out four pieces of paper, or open four documents in your word processor. Write down the name of the series on each document, and then the individual sermon titles.

multiple sermons2. Pick out the main Scripture text(s) for each message.

Insert the text into your document under the title for each sermon.

3. Write your outline for each message.

Outline the first sermon, then the second sermon, and so on. When you do this and look at all four sermons side by side, you will quickly see areas where you have been repetitive, or where you have not covered the topic/text fully, or other areas that need improvement. Edit and fix whatever needs adjustment. You are now outlining with the impact of the entire series in mind, and not just an individual message. You will find this will drastically alter your perception in a very positive manner. A sermon series is in some ways like a book — while there is a theme to each individual message, it should fit under the broader heading of the theme of the series. This will allow for a much stronger impact on your audience.

4. Place all the Scripture text in the appropriate places.

Insert all Scripture text that you are going to use under the appropriate outline headings. Do this for all points on the first outline, then the second outline, etc…. If you are doing your sermon preparation correctly, you already chose these texts before (or during the process of) making your outline(s). Now put them down on paper.

5. Pick out and place all illustrative material.

This is where you will see HUGE time-savings using this method. You are now searching for illustrative material for the whole series at once, with all four sermons open before you. For instance, you might be looking through an illustration book, reading a magazine, or skimming through videos and find a story or clip that fits well with the series — now determine which sermon it will help to illustrate best. While searching you might find a good illustration for Sermon #3 first, or #1, it doesn’t make any difference. Insert all the illustrations into your outline(s) under the appropriate outline points. If you’re like me, you’ll start moving some illustrations from one sermon to another because you’ll find they are a better fit (this is one of the reasons I do mine on a word processor — it’s much easier to “cut and paste” then retype).

6. Write your Introduction for each message.

Now, with the whole series in mind, write your Introduction, one sermon at a time. Each Introduction should contain some information, even if only a sentence, that connects it to the series as a whole. If you do this right, and you say something like, “In this series we are learning about how to control anger…” you might hook someone who needs help in this area to come back for the whole series. The idea is to build interest in the topic and get them coming back for more.

7. Now, finish writing each individual message.

Go back to Sermon #1 and start writing. You already have a title, outline, Scripture text, illustrations, and Introduction. All of the main parts of the message is already put together. Now begin to fill in the information that will explain each point, tie each point in the outline to the next, and to the sermon, and to the series as a whole. You will be amazed how easy this part will be. I have found having all the hard part done first removes any writer’s block I experienced prior to using this method. Write Sermon #2 and following the same way.

8. Write your Conclusion.

You can either write your Conclusion as a part of writing the individual message (above), or save it until everything else is done and then write all your Conclusions at once. Whichever way works best for you is the way that you should do it. Like the Introduction, try to tie the message to the series as a whole in the Conclusion.

That’s it! While this process is probably somewhat foreign to most of you, it really isn’t all that different from normal sermon preparation. I guarantee you that once you get the hang of this you will not go back to the old way of doing things.

Think of these benefits:

1) Tremendous time saver (without sacrificing quality)

2) Advanced preparation (have your sermons done a month or more in advance)

3) Consistency (your congregation will receive a steady diet)

I’d like to encourage you to try this method and then get back to me and let me know how it worked out for you. Of course, I’d love to hear your comments right now too. Just fill in “Comments” section below.

Barry L. Davis

 

 

 

 

Barry Davis is a minister, author, and owner of the Pastor’s Helper.

Preaching Through Mark

We are really excited to introduce you to our brand new ministry book available for Kindle, Paperback, or Download.

It is “Preaching through Mark” and contains 104 Sermon Starters to help you preach and/or teach your way through this wonderful Gospel.

                                
This dynamic resource contains 104 detailed sermon starters and is 220 pages long (paperback version). We are sure this will be a great help to you and your ministry.

We have made it available in 3 formats.
*For the Kindle Version, just go to THIS LINK if you are in the USA.
For other Countries, just click on your Country Code below:
*For the Download Version (in Word and PDF formats), just go to THIS LINK
(make sure and wait to be taken to the download page after you order.

*For the Paperback Version, just go to THIS LINK.

Thank you so much for being a part of The Pastor’s Helper.
In Christ,
Barry Davis
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