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preaching article The Sermon Ships Every Sunday

The Sermon Ships Every Sunday

based on 10 ratings
Feb 17, 2012

There’s a well-known quote in the marketing and business world from Steve Jobs about the importance of getting your ideas out the door.

Real artists ship.

Jobs isn’t just speaking of people who paint, draw, sculpt, or make music. It’s anyone who has the responsibility for creating anything. Products. Services. Reports. Even sermons.

Real artists don’t delay their creation’s release in an attempt to make it perfect. They put in the work and get it as close as they can, and then release it. The most significant ideas in the world are the ones that have been shipped. Not the ones that are perfect. And that’s because no idea is ever perfect.

This is a difficult but necessary truth for anyone who creates. But pastors probably need to embrace it the most. We more than anyone have the tendency to obsess over every facet of the creative work we ship every Sunday and think it needs to be perfect to be effective. I know this better than anyone. There have been countless times when I’ve finished a sermon and wished I could have worked on it more. Brought it closer to perfection.

But at some point you have to put your ideas out there.

Every sermon you have or will ever preach could be improved. Every illustration could be a little tighter. And you could always have a deeper understanding and grasp of the passage you’re preaching.

But you have to understand that when it comes time to ship your sermon what matters is not the perfection of your main point. Or your illustrations. Or your introduction or conclusion.

It’s the perfection of God’s promise that His Word will never return void.

I’m not saying you don’t need to put in hard work ahead of time. Real artists work. And then ship. But there does come a point when you have to realize that God has never depended on your perfect preaching to save lives any more than He has your perfect obedience to save yourself. And He never will.

The Word is perfect. The Gospel is perfect. Your plan and ability to present it are not.

But we have faith that God can more than make up the difference. The same God who used a stuttering shepherd as His mouthpiece before the most powerful man in the world can use us as well. The same God who took twelve ordinary men with no background in public speaking and used them to begin a movement that changed the world can use us, too.

Pastors, Sunday is just a few days away. Take some more time and prepare.
Master the text. Strengthen your presentation. Pray for anointing.

Your sermon isn’t going to be perfect. But God doesn’t need it to be to use it.
So when Sunday comes, don’t hesitate. Ship your sermon.

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. The church has been listed by Outreach Magazine as one of the fastest growing and largest churches in America. 

Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the ChatterboxGreater, and Sun Stand Still.

Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

Talk about it...

David Buffaloe avatar
David Buffaloe
0 days ago
Thank you for the encouraging and uplifting article
Brighton Chireka  avatar
Brighton Chireka
0 days ago
Steven, thank you for making it ease for me because at times l continue to correct my sermon up to the time that l am called to ship it. I am happy to be reminded that God does not depend on my perfect preaching to reach the lost. I am the messenger and not the message. All attention shoud go to God and not me!!
Brighton Chireka  avatar
Brighton Chireka
0 days ago
Steven, thank you for making it ease for me because at times l continue to correct my sermon up to the time that l am called to ship it. I am happy to be reminded that God does not depend on my perfect preaching to reach the lost. I am the messenger and not the message. All attention shoud go to God and not me!!
Gail Cameron avatar
Gail Cameron
0 days ago
This is so true! I have been sick for several weeks and have not had quality time preparing my sermons. Especially last week's sermon. After my sermon, I felt horrible, thinking I really messed that one up. However, all week, people have come to me saying how much God spoke to them through my sermo this week and the past few weeks! Just proves, when we have no choice but to depend on God, he comes through, even if we don't feel like it!
Keith  B avatar
Keith B
0 days ago
I've been pretty critical of Furtick's articles in the past. This is actually pretty good--and he makes some good points that it's not our preaching that saves people--it's the power of God. Having said that, my challenge to Mr. Furtick would be to stop the shenanigans in his church and start preaching the Gospel every week.
Keith  B avatar
Keith B
0 days ago
I've been pretty critical of Furtick's articles in the past. This is actually pretty good--and he makes some good points that it's not our preaching that saves people--it's the power of God. Having said that, my challenge to Mr. Furtick would be to stop the shenanigans in his church and start preaching the Gospel every week.
Rick Hudgens avatar
Rick Hudgens
0 days ago
I am a raving fan of Steven Furtick. This article is once again an insight of reason God is blessing the ministry of Elevation Church. I work on in my preparation to preach on Sundays, however I realize that it is not the strength of my illustrations, the power in my voice, or the video clip I may use that will change a life. It is the power of God's Word and the annointing of the Holy Spirit that I reply upon. Each Sunday I pray to experience God as He builds His church - to the Glory of God!
Rick Hudgens avatar
Rick Hudgens
0 days ago
I am a raving fan of Steven Furtick. This article is once again an insight of reason God is blessing the ministry of Elevation Church. I work on in my preparation to preach on Sundays, however I realize that it is not the strength of my illustrations, the power in my voice, or the video clip I may use that will change a life. It is the power of God's Word and the annointing of the Holy Spirit that I reply upon. Each Sunday I pray to experience God as He builds His church - to the Glory of God!
Dan Jackson avatar
Dan Jackson
0 days ago
This is great truth. I've been preaching for many years, but needed to read this today! Thanks, Steven
Chaplain Shawn Kennedy avatar
Chaplain Shawn Kennedy
0 days ago
k b, you have no ground to criticize anyone as long as you hide behind the skirts of your initials.
Keith  B avatar
Keith B
0 days ago
Wow Shawn...that's kind of negative. I mean, does the fact that I used my initials instead of my real name when I signed up and now can't change it really matter? How do I really know your name is Shawn and you aren't hiding behind the skirts of a fake name. How about you tell me what I said that was incorrect instead of personally attacking me?0
Robert Sickler avatar
Robert Sickler
0 days ago
I have always remembered a writing teacher telling us that Mark Twain was once asked what he had done today, and he replied: put in a comma. The next day he was asked the same question and he replied: I took out the comma I put in yesterday. Now you tell me to quit dillydallying around and ship! Well I like your advice. I work for God and not for man! It goes against my nature but so too does brevity. Good job and thanks for the advice.
Chaplain Shawn Kennedy avatar
Chaplain Shawn Kennedy
0 days ago
Well, "kb" you could sign in with a new address or simply sign your name at the end- even newspapers don't print anonymous letters. If you want to know about me, try something called "google" and to accuse a pastor (and it's obvious you're not a fellow pastor) of "shenanigans" and not preaching the gospel (your gospel?) every week is libelous.
Keith  B avatar
Keith B
0 days ago
If you say so, "Shawn". Again....I have to point out the fact that rather than addressing the antics of the "pastors" that wrote the article, you would rather personally attack the poster that points out the issue. Perhaps I'll create a "Chaplain" Keith login so your feelings aren't hurt.
Tommy Jenkins avatar
Tommy Jenkins
0 days ago
I have to say that this article was helpful to me, I am not sure what "shenanigans" k.b. is speaking of but I am quite sure that the Holy Spirit will correct Bro. Furtick should he really need it.
Keith  B avatar
Keith B
0 days ago
Tommy, I would encourage you to listen to some of his sermons. He preaches every passage as if it is directly about himself or the audience. The Bible isn't about us--it's about Jesus. His recent "Code Orange Revival" featured some horrible name-it-and-claim-it preachers, including a heretical modalist. Having said that, my first comment was that this article was actually pretty good.
John E Miller avatar
John E Miller
0 days ago
In defense of "kb", whoever he is, it must be said that Mr Furtick's thoughts in this article are not entirely reflected in his other articles, discussions and sermons that are freely available for examination.
Jeff Steen avatar
Jeff Steen
0 days ago
Thanks so much for this encouraging word Pastor Furtick. Your ministry has been a tremendous blessing to me. Keep it up.

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