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What Really Makes a Good Sermon?

It’s Monday, and a lot of preachers have spent some time self-critiquing what happened yesterday during the preaching moment.

This weekly process of examination is nearly unavoidable, so it’s important we pay attention to what questions we ask.

It’s important a preacher know how to answer the question, “How’d I do?”

I understand the danger in asking such a question. So perhaps we can try this one on for size: In a sentence, what makes a good sermon?

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Obviously, answering that question is challenging on two fronts.

First, one must come up with the extended play version of the answer…an explanation in however many words necessary of what makes a good sermon a good sermon.

Then, there’s the simplification process. It’s tricky simplifying something nuanced like an answer to the “good sermon” question. We should do it anyway.

The reason this exercise matters is that when people tell you on Sunday after assembly, “Good message today!” we need to know what they mean. We also need to know what we mean by “good message,” so we have a target.

Like it or not, we’re going to self-critique afterwards.

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Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California--a fast-growing plant launched in 2011. Tim is also the purveyor of New Vintage Leadership - a blog offering cutting edge insights on leadership and theology and the author of numerous articles and one book: Jesus, the Powerful Servant.