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Preaching Articles

You worked hard to put together a sermon. You studied the text. You assembled some funny anecdotes and pertinent illustrations. And now you are ready to preach. You put powerful emphasis on the text, and you expect to bring the house down, but nothing happens.

Your sermon was powerful, so you thought, but you don’t see the gleam of discovery in the people’s eyes. You don’t see a smile of insight. In fact, you don’t even see conviction come over the congregation. What happened? It could be a number of things, but one thing I would encourage you to do is ask yourself simply, “Does someone really need this?”

As we put together powerful messages we sometimes say some things that we think might get a shout. Some of our words might cause people to gain knowledge of the Biblical text. We may even get to teach people the intricacies of a Greek tense. And then we get caught up in making those things relevant and accessible. But if you have never asked yourself this question, you might end up preaching to the mind while steering totally clear of the soul, totally ignoring other important concerns.

In our preaching this week, I encourage you to ask the simple question, “Does someone need to hear this?” What is it about your sermon that speaks a needed word? What is it God is telling you to say that the people NEED?

Your people come to hear a word of life. A needed important word. A word that will help them make it through the difficult days between worship services. I encourage you to ask this question. God will be glorified and the people will be edified when you preach a God-given word that the people desperately NEED.

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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Chauncey Campbell

commented on Dec 4, 2014

This is exactly the truth, I just said to the congregation that everything we do during the worship experience must be relevant.

Byron Sherman

commented on Dec 4, 2014

Amen! Every opportunity in preaching/teaching has application as its end...to meet real needs.

Rev. A. David Griffin

commented on Dec 4, 2014

While I agree with this integral question I find it may be misleading in one respect. Preaching through a 'book' or 'epistle' may not afford one to focus in on a specific perceived need of the congregation. This is where topical sermons seem to fit more nicely. Unfortunately, as topical sermons are convenient for pastors, the implications of more expository thematic sermons are ( in my estimation ) more spiritually controlled. Trusting God to use His Word to transform, equip us, exhort us and break us as He knows we need. Good article in encouraging us to remain focused on keeping the main thing - the main thing --feeding the sheep! Merry Christmas!

John Sears

commented on Dec 4, 2014

Rev. A.. David Griffin, I appreciate the tone of your reply. You disagreed in an agreeable way. Thank you. Let me see if I can match it in my reply. I appreciate your obvious heart for accuracy in God's word. That said, even exegetical sermon series through books of the Bible can help answer perceived needs. I have learned that few people come to church saying, "I wonder what the book of Ephesians says today?" (Head knowledge). I have said in exegetical messages, "I doubt many of you have come wondering what the book of ..... says. So let me use your head to aim for your heart." As communicators of God's truth, we should all do that so that God's word doesn't simply inform, but transforms.

Rev. A. David Griffin

commented on Dec 4, 2014

Brother John, you were quite successful with an apt and graceful response...if only we could garner this across a national platform in light of current events and amid much mis-communication. Regarding my objective in responding, I find my in the other posts which seem to sound similar. It is a question that some 'ponder' within themselves as they prepare to stand. This is in itself a flawed theological position. I believe you'd agree that the "effectiveness" of preaching the gospel is never dependent upon anything we bring to the platform. It is solely a demonstration of power in the Holy Ghost. (Of course it goes without saying our posture with God regarding unconfessed sin is a predominant factor) Your topic is worthy of discussion and contemplation, especially in today's religious circles where performance is praised over obedience. I find too often the enemy will attempt to distract us from the efficacious work of God's Spirit by tempting us to believe that our efforts are more significant than they truly are. Leaving the preacher sometimes struggling with bouts of depression, anxieties, and a perceived sense of inadequacy. I agree, with your article half-heartedly...in love; I simply seek to offer what I see as the 'other side'. Asking contextually relevant questions, in harmony with the the Text (contextually) is, and as you've convincingly pointed out, of great significance. I look forward to reading more of your wise and beneficial counsel.

John Sears

commented on Dec 4, 2014

Mr. Cox, this is a question I wrestle with EVERY week. Thanks for a spot on article.

Jim Hunter

commented on Dec 4, 2014

I appreciate the gracious pros and cons on this issue. I have often asked myself "so what?" as part of my sermon prep. However, "does someone really need this" has a subtle difference. I'll try it this Sunday. Thanks brothers.

Terry Phillips

commented on Dec 4, 2014

Yes, many things I find interesting when writing a sermon which may be unintelligible or just plain boring to my listeners. I reach for the blue pencil!

William Douglas Johnson, Sr

commented on Dec 8, 2014

Sherman, the first sermon series I did after assuming the position of associate pastor was preaching through the book of Hosea, and I was approached by a well-meaning member asking, "Do we really need this, now?" I stayed with what I felt God would have me to do, and all I can say is our church was fed and strengthened with it. The Holy Spirit must be in the message or it is only "noise" and will not accomplish any lasting change for eternity. God bless you, brother, and Merry Christmas.

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