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Checklist for Better Preaching – 11 Steps

better preaching

I am not the best preacher on the planet, but I am passionate about better preaching. Here are a few things that I have learned along the way and things that I am currently trying to implement.

  • Don’t make it about you. Better preaching is about God first and the people second. To test this, count how many times you say words like “I” or “me.”
  • Watch yourself on video from time to time and evaluate honestly. Get some other people to do this as well.  Ask people for honest feedback, and don’t let them off the hook until they tell you something you can do better.
  • You’re probably preaching too long.  I don’t know many people who say, “Dang…I wish he would preach a little longer.”
  • Philip Levine, a Pulitzer prize winning poet, says, “If that voice that you created that is most alive in the poem isn’t carried throughout the whole poem, then I destroy where it’s not there, and I reconstruct it so that that voice is the dominant voice in the poem.”  In the same way, every sermon should be about Jesus.  If your sermon is not about Jesus, then keep working or start over.
  • What do you want people to do?  If you can’t answer that question, then your sermon isn’t done.
  • People tend to remember carefully constructed principles or powerful stories.  Make sure your message has one or the other, if not both.
  • Preach your sermon to yourself before you preach it to others.  If it’s not meaningful and transformational to you, then go pray and study some more.
  • Listen and watch other preachers and public speakers.  Don’t copy them, but learn from them.  You should sound like yourself when you teach.
  • Comedians are masters at introducing a concept and then bringing it back later in their talk.  We can do the same in our messages.
  • Our opinions don’t matter as much as we think they do.  Preach the Word of God, not your personal preferences or popular opinion.
  • Read Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln, one of the best books on public speaking that I have read.