I don’t know any pastors who, if they had the option, would choose to preach at the same level next year that they did this year. I’m sure there are some out there, but I’m confident you’re not one of them. Instead, I believe that you would choose to stretch your preaching next year. You would choose improvement over stagnation.
But the question is, how can we improve? how can we stretch ourselves?
Well, in this article, we’re going to cover some ways to do just that. And, I believe, if you give yourself to trying at least one of these things, you’ll see your preaching improve.
So let’s dive in, shall we?
3 Ways to Stretch Your Preaching Next Year
1. If you’re more of an expository preacher, preach more topically this next year (and vice versa).
Now, this comes from a conviction that one or the other isn’t any less biblical than the other.
I mean, let’s be honest: did Jesus sit down and exegete the whole Old Testament verse by verse?
Nope. He oftentimes told stories and tied in a single powerful truth to them. He engaged those who listened to Him with the power of a story that they would connect with.
And yes, I know that as He spoke, He was preaching expositionally given the fact that He is the Word. But that certainly wasn’t His style as He preached from the Old Testament text.
And in the same way, if you’re a topical only kind of pastor, you’re missing out on the power of slowly walking through a book of the Bible, verse by verse.
It can be a stretch to try something new and that’s the point.
As I’ve been getting started as senior pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN, I’ve been thinking through how I can do this.
After our sermon planning meeting this week, I believe I will, at the very least, be preaching through Philippians and Nehemiah next year. And I couldn’t be more excited for them both!
2. Coach someone else in their preaching.
You know this is true: when you teach something, you learn it more.
The same is true for when we start to dissect and evaluate our own convictions and beliefs about preaching.
And the best way to do this is to start coaching someone else in their preaching.
Maybe it’s your youth pastor, maybe it’s a lay leader, maybe it’s an associate pastor, a children’s pastor, another senior pastor in your area, it could literally be anyone. The only requirement? They want to preach and you’re willing to help them get reps.
If you decide to do this, here’s what I highly recommend:
- Get them reps and give them feedback within 24 hours.
- Go through a book or a preaching course with them and talk through the content with them.
- Teach them your convictions, beliefs, and tips about preaching.
- Watch good preaching together and break the sermon down, explaining what works, why it works, and what doesn’t work.
- If you have the capabilities, do the same as #4, but with their preaching.
This may just be the best way to stretch your preaching next year because through it, you’ll become more critical and aware of how you preach and you’ll more quickly identify where you need to make improvements.
And a word to the voice inside your head: yes, you DO have a ton of value to add in the area of preaching. You don’t have to be a mega church pastor or a preaching professor to help others in their preaching. Just be you and share what you’ve learned.
That’s all we’ve done here and it’s exciting to hear how much it has helped other preachers. So step out there and find someone you can coach in their preaching. It’ll help you tremendously in yours.
3. Watch or listen to every sermon you preach and find things to work on.
I believe one of the simplest, most powerful, and sometimes most painful things we can do to stretch and improve our preaching is to watch or listen to every sermon we preach.
By doing so, we’ll be confronted with our speaking tics, with our stumbles, and with our struggles. And when it comes to improving our preaching, knowing what needs work is half the battle.
When we know what we need to work on, we’re going to be able to set ourselves on the path toward improvement.
And if you want to take this to an even better level, ask a fellow pastor to watch or listen to a sermon of yours and ask for critical, nit-picky, constructive feedback.
And be sure to word it like that, too. Because that will give them permission to give you feedback that will actually help you.
Because the last thing we should want is, that was good. That doesn’t help us improve. That just gives us a momentary feeling of relief. But in the long run? It gives us permission to stay where we are in our preaching.
In a word, to stretch your preaching requires this one thing: intentionality.
So make a plan, give these things a try, and, over time, I believe you’ll see improvement.
You’re not at your preaching ceiling, friend. Not even close.
How are you going to stretch yourself in your preaching next year?
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