Preaching Articles

Every Sunday something happens over 400,000 times in the U.S.:  A pastor preaches a sermon.

If an average sermon lasts about 30 minutes and if roughly 56 million people attend on an average Sunday, then church attenders in America’s churches spend this amount of time listening to our sermons each week:

  • 23,000,000 man hours
  • which equals 958,000 days
  • which equals 136,904 weeks
  • which equals 2,632 years

And if the average pastor spends 10 hours preparing a sermon, pastors will spend the following amount of time in weekly sermon prep:

  • 4,000,000 man hours
  • which equals 166,666 days
  • which equals 23,800 weeks
  • which equals 457 years

Putting it all together, each week sermons gobble up three centuries of man-hours. If you multiply that over a year’s time ... well, you do the math.

When I calculated this number, it boggled my mind. That statistic then begged this question.

What spiritual return is our preaching giving us?

I know we can’t measure the eternal impact from our sermons. However, the amount of time we invest in them and the time people invest in listening to them should cause us to pause and evaluate. These numbers caused me to think.

Take a few moments and consider these ten questions. As you read them ask yourself if the Lord is prompting you to make some changes to maximize your sermons’ spiritual impact.

1. Do I spend sufficient time preparing my heart to preach (i.e. spiritual disciplines, stillness, character development)?

2. Do I spend sufficient time with people to understand the issues they face that need a word from God?

3. Am I being true to what the biblical writers intended when I preach?

4. Am I willing to get honest feedback from people who can help me improve my preaching?

5. Do I make my preaching more about Him and less about me and what others may think about my preaching?

6. What am I doing to improve my study and presentation skills?

7. Am I willing to preach on unpopular subjects about which the Scripture speaks?

8. Do I spend sufficient time thinking about ways that could maximize the listeners' attention so as to increase their retention of my sermons?

9. Do I always tie my sermons to the overarching redemptive theme of the Gospel?

10. Do I approach preaching as a hallowed trust?

Perhaps the venerable Haddon Robinson captured the essence of preaching when we wrote this in his excellent book, Biblical Preaching.

When you get right down to it, preaching is like farming. I often say, “Lord, here I am. As far as I can tell, I’ve tried to fill my sack with good seed. I’ve done my homework, I think my attitude is right, and it’s the best, most interesting seed I’ve got. I’m going to scatter it now, Lord. So here goes. We’ll see what comes up in the field.” Then, once I’ve sown the seed, I do what farmers do: I go home and rest.

What questions would you add to this list?

Dr. Charles Stone is Lead Pastor at West Park Church in London, Ontario, Canada, and the founder of StoneWell Ministries, a pastor coaching and church consulting ministry. He is the author of four books including, "People Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval Motivated Leadership" (IVP 2014), and his most recent book, “Brain-Savvy Leaders: The Science of Significant Ministry” (Abingdon, May 2015).

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Jean Baptiste

commented on Jun 12, 2014

Thanks! they are hepful. I need some specific tips when It is about preching to teen.

Suresh Manoharan

commented on Jun 13, 2014

A wonderful not all effective preaching down to simple teamwork...the Preachers' fill the water vats(their hearts) with water (sincere preparation based on God's Word) and the Lord anoints and changes water into wine. The anointed Word is refreshing both to the Preacher as he is preaching as well as to his congregation.

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