3. Point the Finger.
This goes along with the first point, you have got to engage people. If your sermon is propositional (and it must be), then it must call them to believe something, address something or do something.
Mixing in some second person “You!” is very helpful. Of course, that could go overboard so you want to mix it up. I have found Mark Dever to be a very helpful example of this. He has a ton of phrases that he uses, such as: friend, brother, sister, you, we, church, single person, married person, Christian, men, women, children, etc.
Thoughtfulness here will only help you hit the mark.
4. Show Your Scars.
The preacher is most effective when the sermon’s truth has gripped him. He not only needs to know the subject, but he needs to believe it.
As a result, the sermon will seep down into his life and get ahold of him. This brings about conviction, repentance and change.
It is healthy and helpful to model this as a pastor. I should also say that, taken to its extreme, this could lend itself to a public personal show every week. This would become a distraction and problem.
Be gripped by the truth and then show how it grips you; in so doing, don’t make it about you.
5. Bottom-Line It.
Sometimes we as preachers can spend a lot of time explaining concepts, and for some people these concepts are new. If you work through a lengthy explanation and then just move on, some people will get it but others will not.
I was just listening to a friend preach yesterday and he did a fantastic job explaining the context of 2 Corinthians. And then he said, “The bottom-line is this: In any state of mind, Paul is not selfish. He loves the Corinthians. His love is always upward and outward (2 Cor. 5.13).” It was a very succint statement to put a bow on a lengthy explanation. You can’t miss that.
These are things you can do right away and they will bring immediate impact. As I look back on sermons that have seemed to have the most traction, they have most often been the ones when I have faithfully unfolded the passage, gotten out of the way, and let these five friends loose.
Give it a try, I guarantee it will work. If not, then I’ll give you a full refund.