Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Carey Nieuwhof: 7 Reasons Your Sermons Are Boring

Carey Nieuwhof: 7 Reasons Your Sermons Are Boring

If almost always start any talk I’m doing describing a problem people face—at work, at home, in their relationship with God or in their relationship with each other.

How do you do that? Describe the problem in detail: i.e., “You’re so frustrated with God because He says He’s a God of love. But you read the Old Testament and beg to differ. And you wonder if you can even trust a God like that.”

If you really want people to drill down on the issues, take the next step. Make the problem worse. Describe it in such detail that people are no longer sure there’s a solution to it. Quote an atheist. Explain that God seems cruel, mean, and angry.

Then go to your main point, which for argument’s sake might be explaining how He shouldered His own anger on the cross in love.

The idea here is to try to uncover and bring to light every objection people have to the main point you’re trying to make. Think about what they’ll think about driving home (“Oh yeah, the preacher didn’t deal with X.”) And then deal with X.

They’ll lean in when you do.

6. You don’t personally own the message.

There was a season when cool church was enough.

But people are tired of slick. They’re suspicious of polish.

One of the keys to authenticity is personally owning everything you say. People want to know you believe what you’re saying.

In a world of spin where so much is sold, people are looking for real.

Be real.

When you own the message—when it comes from the core of who you are—it resonates.

So own your message. Start early…process it. Pray over it. Digest it. And believe it.

That means you’ve processed it deeply enough that it has become part of who you are, not just something you say.

In a world of spin where so much is sold, people are looking for real. Be real.

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7. You’re relying too heavily on your notes.

In public speaking, people won’t stay nearly as engaged with your message if you’re reading it.

It comes across as a press release. Or a statement someone else prepared. Or something you think they should believe, but you don’t believe yourself.

I know that’s tough for people who are tied to manuscripts.

Please hear me: Reading from your notes doesn’t mean you’re insincere, it just means people often think you are.

Reading from your notes doesn’t mean you’re insincere, it just means people think you are.

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So is there help? You bet.

In The Art of Preaching we have an entire unit that will train you on how to give a talk without using your notes. And yes, I’ve helped hundreds of leaders do just that. It is more than possible.

Want the heart of it? (There’s much more…but this will get you started.)

It’s this: Don’t memorize your talk. Understand it.

You don’t memorize your conversations before you have them because you understand them.

So understand your next talk.

You can always talk about things you understand.

Don’t memorize your talk. Understand it.