10 Words To Preach By (My Preaching Convictions)

10 Words to Preach By
These are my preaching convictions. – Steve Tillis

In 10 words Daniel Akin defines preaching as, “Christ-centered, text-driven, Spirit-led preaching that transforms lives.” For the rookie and seasoned preacher alike, this staccato definition of preaching is helpful. I’ve used this definition to form some preaching convictions.

10 Words To Preach By (My Preaching Convictions)


I have a conviction that Jesus Christ should be the hero of every sermon I preach. All Scripture is Christian Scripture, therefore it either directly or indirectly points to Jesus Christ. Jesus believed Scripture told his story, he said as much in Luke 24:27, 44. I’ll spend the rest of my preaching career learning to do this responsibly but I’m not waiting until I have it all figured out.

I’m going to do my best to take people from the text to the cross in every sermon. Since Christ is the center of God’s redeeming narrative it must be the center of our sermons.


I have a conviction that whenever I preach, the text will drive the sermon. It isn’t about whimsical ideas, principles for better Christian living or soup for the soul. It’s not even a diving board for good theological truth.

The main point of every sermon must be the main point of the biblical text I’m preaching or I’m deceiving the people. Regardless of whether the text fits my series or sermon template I must be faithful to preach it in context.

A pastor told me to preach Romans in such a way that if the Apostle Paul were in the congregation he would greet me afterward and say, that’s exactly what I meant. Be committed to this, don’t wavier from it, no matter what your friends or the trends may say. Remember, if it doesn’t faithfully explain the text, it’s not preaching.

preaching quote - steve tillis


I have a conviction to study and preach under the Spirit’s control. Something happens on Sunday in the space between my Bible/notes and the hearts of my congregation. Sermons must not come in word only but in the power of the Spirit of God. Only he can convict people of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Only he can comfort the brokenhearted and challenge the wayward Christian.

I’m convinced If my preaching is to be both glorifying and effectual the Spirit must lead in preparation and delivery. Make this a bedrock conviction in your preaching, that you will not lean solely on your talents and abilities but you will pray and plead for the help of the Spirit of God.

Ask him to illuminate the Scriptures for you and empower you to preach with his power.  Labor in prayer for the Spirit to do a supernatural work in you and in those who hear the Word.

Preaching that transforms lives

I have a conviction to practice what I preach before I preach it. Warren Wiersbe said, “the preacher is a part of the message.” I’m convinced that life-transforming sermons come through preachers who are being transformed.

I’m committed to embracing and embodying the sermons I preach before I preach them. I fail often and seek forgiveness from the Lord, but I never what to preach to people what I’m not working on myself. Passion and believability are transferred in the moment of preaching through the life of the one who has already been wrestling with the sermon that week.

“In a world which seems either unwilling or unable to listen, how can we be persuaded to go on preaching, and learn to do so effectively? The essential secret is not to master certain techniques but being mastered by certain convictions.” These words from John Stott helped me to form my preaching convictions.

I hope you will decide on a few yourself early on in your preaching ministry and stick with them.

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Written by Steve Tillis

I'm an apprentice of Jesus Christ, husband to my wonderful wife Connie and father to our 2 boys. I'm thankful for God calling me to be a local church pastor. My interests and research are in the areas of Christian spiritual formation, preaching and Florida St. Football.


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