Why Preachers Must Learn to Dance During Sermon Prep

If we don’t preach Christo-centrically, the hearer of the sermon might conclude that Jesus exists to help them fulfill their dreams, instead of being agents that co-labor with Him so His dream — the Kingdom of God — can become a life-giving reality here on earth.

Or we become moralistic preachers. The Bible becomes a lifeless, flesh-satisfying, self-help book of principles on “how to be successful” or “how to get God to do what we want Him to do.” Moralistic preaching produces legalists or people who quit under the weight of not living up to the standards. By the way, moralistic, legalistic preachers don’t live up to their own standards either; that’s why they always seem mad.

Dance Move Three: Know the Content of Scripture and Context of the Culture

Preachers must understand the content of Scripture and context of the culture. Before you think I’m all deep with that statement, I heard Dr. Ed Stetzer say it first.

It’s not enough to know the content of Scripture, we also need to know the people we’re preaching to and the culture they’re situated in. The gospel never, ever, ever changes, but the culture does. Therefore, we must be like an artist and paint a picture of Jesus and His redemptive work that hearers can see, feel and respond to.

Dance Move Four: Head, Heart, Hands

After I’ve done my exegetical, Christo-centric work, I ask myself three questions:

1. What do I want people to think about Jesus and His redemptive work? (Head)

2. What do I want people to feel about Jesus and His redemptive work? (Heart)

3. What do I want people to allow Jesus to do in their lives as a result of His redemptive work? (Hands)

Dance Move Five: Less, Simple and Passion

Preachers, remember that less is more. Focus your sermons on one big idea or theme. At the end my sermons, I have what I call a “Soul-tattoo.”  This is the one big idea that I want people to take home and do something with.

Preachers, be simple, but not simplistic. True genius is the ability to communicate the complex in a way that is easy to understand.

Preachers, preach like what you’re preaching has actually transformed and is transforming your life.

Dance to Your Own Sermon

Finally, I pray that my preaching flows of out Jesus’ transformative work in my own life. I pray that my preaching is an act of worship in response to His wonder-inspiring grace.

Dance … I say dance, so others can dance to the rhythm of God’s grace and get down too!  

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Derwin Gray
Derwin L. Gray is the founding and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church (www.tc521.org), a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community in Indian Land, South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church was recognized as one of the 15 fastest growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine. Gray is the author of "Limitless Life: You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future" and is a highly sought-after communicator. Connect with Derwin on twitter @Derwinlgray.