60+ Thoughts on Preaching Better Sermons

This year Preaching Rocket delivered again with another great Preach Better Sermons web conference. I share with you below over 60 thoughts and quotes on preaching better sermons. Unfortunately I ended up missing most of Lysa TerKeurst’s session so I don’t have as many notes from her. 

60+ Thoughts on Preaching Better Sermons

60+ Thoughts on Preaching Better Sermons

If you have a desire to get on track to preaching better sermons, you do not want to gloss over the thoughts and quotes found below. Let them simmer. Let them grab you. And most of all, apply them.

Jeff Henderson

  • In the first five minutes
    1. Be likeable
    2. Tell a story (a funny one is even better)
    3. Create Tension
    4. Ask, “Have you ever felt like this?”
    5. Tease the solution
  • “Preaching is much like a movie”
  • You want to have your audience say, ‘yes, I’ve wondered that.’
  • “There’s a difference between comedy and sharing a story.”
  • “People resist truth from people they don’t like.”
  • “If you start preparing for the sermon that’s not on your calendar, it will eventually be on your calendar.”
  • “If we don’t get ahead in our preparation, your preparation and the church suffer.”
  • “The better you prepare, the better you preach.”
  • “You have to be empathetic for the people.”
  • If you’re nervous, pray more for the people who you are preaching to and this will bring your attention from you to them.
  • 4 Questions to Help You Dive Into The Preparation Process (10 minutes per question)
    1. “What does my audience currently think?”
    2. “What do I want my audience to think?”
    3. “What is my single most persuasive idea?”
    4. “What do I want them to do?”
  • “A good sermon is like a virus. It spreads.”
  • “Your goal as a communicator is not to fill the time, it is to leverage the time.”
  • “If you don’t know what you want them to do, you’ve got more work to do.” – Andy Stanley
  • “How many great sermons can I preach a year?”
  • “You should be raising up other communicators.”
  • 2 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Sermon Prep
    1. What does my sermon preparation process look like?
    2. What can I do to improve that process?
  • “I practice my talk 7 times.”
  • How young communicators get better: “Say yes to every speaking opportunity.” – Louie Giglio
  • “If you want to get better, watch yourself give a talk.”
  • “I think God is honored when you are prepared.”
  • “Sometimes in the church world we use prayer as an excuse not to do hard work.”
  • “You should always be on high alert for when God is going to give you an idea.”
  • The Boxes/Design/Picture of Your Sermon
    1. Connection. Tension. (first 5 minutes)
      • What does my audience currently think?
    2. Solution. Instruction. (teaching moment)
      • What do I want them to think?
      • What is my single, most persuasive idea?
    3. Inspiration. Hashtag-ization. (if someone’s going to tweet your message, this is where they get it.)
      • What do I want them to do?
  • “The more I can look and connect with people in the eye, the better.”
  • “I want to get rid of any barrier between me and the crowd.”
  • “What is the urgent, but not important is the killer for church planters.”

Jud Wilhite

  • “I imagine people sitting around my desk while I prepare my message.”
  • “What do you think in the message had the most traction?”
  • “In the first 5 minutes, I’m just trying to bring the walls down.”
    • To move out of my own life and into us
  • How do you deal with criticism? “It comes down to grounding my identity in Christ.”
  • “You’re not as good as you think you are when things are good and you’re not as bad as you think you are when things are bad.”
  • “Be true, be honest, be authentic, and teach the Bible.”
  • “You can wreck your ministry if you are dying for the adoration of people.” 

Herbert Cooper

  • Preach better sermons by studying the Word.
    • “Prepare your message with your audience in mind.”
    • “Prepare your message ahead of time.”
    • “If you don’t prepare ahead of time, you won’t be prepared.”
  • 3 Ways to Get Ahead in Preparation
    1. Take a study break
    2. Empower a staff member or volunteer to help you
    3. Prepare in a group
  • Preach the Word
    • “The best way I have found to engage the audience is to create tension.”
    • “I’m not preaching to them, but with them.”
    • “The goal of preaching is life change.”
    • “You want to make the next step clear and attainable.”
    • “The goal of preaching is to point people toward Jesus and help them take the next step.”

Derwin Gray

  • The Six C’s of Life Transformative Preaching
    1. Consecrate Yourself
      • “We preach out of the overflow of what God is preaching to us.”
    2. Christ Exalting Sermons
      • “People need good news, not good advice.”
      • “Good news is about a God who invaded time and space and his name is Jesus.”
    3. Be Clear
      • “It’s better to be clear in your sermon than cute.”
      • “It’s better to be clear in your sermon than creative.”
      • “I’ll take clarity over creativity every day of the week.”
    4. Be Compelling
      • “I’m not compelling, you’re not compelling, Jesus is compelling.”
      • “I wonder if there are times we don’t preach a compelling Christ because he hasn’t been compelling to us.”
    5. Convicting
    6. Cause
      • “I want to join Jesus’ cause.”
      • “Jesus already took care of the vision, it’s called his church. Not a building, but people.”
      • “We should all have Jesus’ dream.”

Liysa TerKeurst

  • “Does my sticky statement just preach well or does it live well?”

Andy Stanley

  • “Approach is what makes content interesting.”
  • “We need to let people know that we know that they are there.”
  • “When you give them an out, people tend to lean in.”
  • “The foundation of our faith is not Scripture, it is something that happened in history. Jesus came into the world…”
  • “You’ve gotta find a way to bring that same energy to the text and the way you do that is taking time to uncover the energy within the text.”

Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Lead Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.


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