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9 Preaching Mistakes You Must Avoid

Maybe it’s because I’m naturally a pessimist, but the most natural way for me to figure out how I can grow as a preacher is to identify what mistakes I most commonly make and try to work on improving those, by God’s grace. For the purpose of self-evaluation and ‘fanning into flame’ the preaching gift that I have, I decided to list out the mistakes I most often make in sermon preparation and delivery.

I imagine that I’m probably not the only preacher who makes some of these mistakes with regularity, so I thought I’d share them here in case my list ends up helping any of you brothers who are working on preaching evaluation/improvement as well.

Top Mistakes I Make in Sermon Preparation:

1. I Don’t Pray Enough.

This one is simple. There are more weeks than I care to admit when there is very little by way of earnest, extended times of prayer for the ministry of the preached word. This reflects self-reliance, and a disturbing amount of trust placed in my gifts rather than the one who actually has the power to do spiritual work in the hearts of the hearers. This one is first because it’s clearly the worst offense.

2. I Don’t Study Enough.

This doesn’t happen quite as much for me, but sometimes I think my sermons are lacking in power because I just simply haven’t studied broadly enough. If I’m not absolutely confident that ‘this’ is what the text says, then I can’t preach it with absolute conviction.

3. I Study Too Much.

This happens to me fairly regularly. The issue here is not so much that I study the text too much, but that the bulk of my sermon preparation goes to studying so that there is far too little time left to actually write the sermon. When this happens, illustrations become sparse and obscure, and application can seem forced. When this happens, my sermons include very little by way of helps for the hearer.