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The Secret Key to Great Preaching

What are some of these convictions? Well, there are many. I want students to develop an insatiable thirst for Holy Scripture. I want them to go to the pulpit because they love the Bible; not go to the Bible because they love the pulpit. I want them to embrace the Christ-centered nature of Scripture, and for them to show Jesus as the hero of the Bible—and the hero of every sermon they preach. I want them to believe that God saves people as the gospel is preached. I want them to believe in the power of the Spirit and the necessity of dependent prayer in preaching. I want them to remember that if they don’t maintain personal holiness, then they won’t have a ministry—regardless of their giftedness and cleverness. I want them to long for people to say after every sermon, not “what a great sermon,” but “what a great Savior.”

The Key to Effective Preaching

Obviously, technique is not unimportant. We should work to communicate clearly. Our sermons should have an understandable flow and a dominant idea. We should work to communicate in such a way that our preaching is intelligible to outsiders as they join the Sunday assembly. We should exegete our community and make timely and heart-focused application. We should learn to craft good outlines and to prepare for the listener instead of the reader. We should receive feedback humbly and seek to improve our delivery skills. Preaching is both science and art, and we need good art—so we should care about how we say things.

But the key to effective preaching is not mastering certain techniques; it’s being mastered by certain convictions.

That’s why I’ll keep the emphasis here, and not on elements like alliteration, the number of points one has, hand motions, clothing or platform furniture. No one was ever saved by such things, and no one ever remained faithful to the task by focusing on them either.

Let’s preach Christ until we see Christ. Then we won’t need to preach anymore. On that day, we won’t regret having been faithful to the main thing.

“The key to effective preaching is not mastering certain techniques, but being mastered by certain convictions.”  

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Tony Merida serves as the Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Imago Dei Church, Raleigh, NC and as the Associate Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Kimberly, with whom he has five children. Tony is the co-author of Orphanology, and the author of Faithful Preaching and Proclaiming Jesus. He travels and speaks all over the world at various events, especially pastor’s conferences, orphan care events, and youth & collegiate conferences.