Your Preaching Can Change Lives
by GenerousChurch | January 23, 2013
If you are a pastor, you probably want to preach with purpose. There is a good chance that you want each message to be heard – but beyond that – you want it to penetrate the lives of those listening. Like any encounter with God, great preaching changes people. It calls us to action. It calls us to walk in the ways of Jesus. It opens our eyes to the things of God and helps us to see Him in a new light.
So, what’s the secret? How is it done – well – week after week? How can you develop purposeful, life-altering sermons even when you are having a hard week? At GenerousChurch, our leaders have a few decades of combined preaching experience that can help you…especially as you prepare to preach on money, stewardship or generosity.
Here’s our first observation: You cannot have a great sermon if it is not grounded in Scripture. There are many good motivational speeches that are not based on Scripture, but a powerful sermon is going to be rooted in the power of God’s Word, not our own bright ideas. Think about this. By simply speaking the words, God created the heavens and the earth. His words have power! And it is those same words that are contained in the pages of the Bible.
Second, great sermons focus on one big idea. That doesn’t not mean that your sermon has to be contained to one point, but all of the points should flow together to support the overarching theme. For example, Pastor Bryan Clark recently preached a sermon titled, “Imagine the Possibilities” from 2 Corinthians 8 & 9. Even though this sermon contains multiple ideas, each of the ideas revolves around the big idea that we should live radically generous lives because of the generous grace that Jesus has extended to us. (You can watch the sermon at Lincoln Berean’s website.)
The third critical aspect of powerful preaching is application. Great sermons always show how the text applies to everyday life. They demonstrate how the big idea is lived out day by day. And one of the best ways to apply the text to everyday life is through stories.
For example, if you are preaching on generosity, you may want to apply your points by telling the story of Dr. Renee Lockey. Dr. Lockey decided to live out her dream of being a medical doctor while maintaining the lifestyle of a nurse. She has made the conscious decision to live a radically generous life because of the generosity that God has poured out on her.
Another example of faith in the workplace is the story of Hobby Lobby. The Green family started this arts and crafts business out of their home garage and developed it on the principals of Christian faith and generosity. Today, Hobby Lobby is making headlines for continuing to stand on their Christian values regardless of the financial penalties imposed by the government.
Finally, you have to believe what you are preaching. If you don’t really believe in living generously, or if you don’t practice it often, it is going to be hard to convince your people that they should practice generosity.
As we note in our ePaper, 7 Attributes of a Generous Church, generous churches are led by generous leaders. In other words, there is a direct correlation between what you practice and what the people in your church believe. Your preaching gains significant influence when the people in the congregation know that you really believe in the message you are preaching.
What about you? What are you doing to preach purposefully, and powerfully, each week? Let us know in the comments below.
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