Home Pastors Preaching & Teaching Derwin Gray: I Prepare My Sermons by Dancing

Derwin Gray: I Prepare My Sermons by Dancing

I’m writing this blog for the church planters and pastors who have asked me, “How do you prepare a sermon?”

And I’m writing it for the Transformation Church Family so that “Transformers” will know how to pray for me as I prepare sermons for them that will hopefully cause us to reflect Jesus to our broken planet.

So, here it is: I dance to the rhythm of God’s grace.

Now, keep in mind, I’m still a young preacher, so my dance moves aren’t very polished. But I’m a passionate learner and here’s what I’ve learned so far.


Before I prepare a sermon, Jesus must prepare me.

Within weeks of becoming a Christ-follower, Ezra 7:10 inspired me to pray, “Lord, empower me to study Your word, obey Your word and teach Your word.”

When we pray before preaching we’re saying to Jesus, “I need a revelation of You,”  “I need Your power for my life and the lives of the people I’m preaching to.”

By the way, be on guard … the better you get at preaching, the easier it’ll be not to pray.


It’s vitally important that the preacher knows that all Scripture points to Jesus (Luke 24:13-49). This is called Christo-centric preaching or historical-redemptive preaching. Jesus said:

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40 ESV

In every one of my sermons, Jesus is the hero!

In every one of my sermons, it’s ultimately about what Jesus has done to redeem humanity and bring His kingdom to earth through His redeemed, glorious Bride, the Church.

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 colabor 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.

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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.