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Preacher, Strive for Clarity


There are so many important elements of a sermon: showing Jesus to all who hear, powerful introductions, engaging storytelling, effective illustrations and so on.

But, one thing that is missing in a lot of sermons I hear is a simple principle: clarity. You can have great power, great stories, great exegesis, great insert whatever you want, but if you are not clear your audience will not be sure what to take home with them.

Here are some ways to achieve clarity in your preaching:

It’s All About Jesus

One way to achieve clarity in your preaching is to always connect the “topic” or passage to the Gospel. Without the good news of Jesus dying on the cross and being resurrected so we could be saved from our sins, whatever topic you are preaching on would be ultimately meaningless.

Your people need to know this. They need to know that preaching is more than moralizing, and living as a disciple is about more than living a good life, or overcoming obstacles.

Preacher, you will never be clear in your preaching until you forget the moralizing and the feel good motivation and instead share the ultimate truths given to us by the power found in Jesus’ sacrifice.

Hit on One Key Take-Home Truth

One way we limit how clear our sermons are is we have many points that we want our audience to take home with them.

Exegete your passage and find the one key truth the author was teaching and make sure your audience knows what it is.

Be creative and compelling and this will stick.

Limit Long Blocks of Greek and Hebrew

I know. I know. You worked years on your Greek and Hebrew, you have kept that muscle fresh. You found an absolute gem in the text you are preaching on this week. The motivation is to go on and on about it.

The honest truth? Most of your audience does not care, and you are just making the message less clear. By all means use your language skills to help you craft your sermon, by all means bring out quick nuggets every now and again, but do not fall back on this week in and week out.

Focus on One Key Passage

Another way to be as clear as possible as a preacher is to focus on one key passage each week. This way you are not spread too thin jumping from one passage to another.

Exegete one main passage as clearly as possible and your audience’s brains will thank you when they are processing what they need to remember.

This article originally appeared here.

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My name is Joe. I pastor and preach at Pleasant View Church of Christ a rural church in a farming community just outside of Jeffersonville, Ohio (hour southwest of Columbus). I just recently graduated from Cincinnati Christian University and have undertaken the role of small town pastor which has definitely been one of the most rewarding and challenging parts of my life. I love to preach and lead, I love to talk about preaching and leading, and I love to hear you talk about preaching and leading