Category Archives: Preaching

Grabbing Attention

A senior Pastor was advising his young associate on his preaching, and said “When I see members of the congregation nodding off, or looking at their watches, I try to grab their attention by saying something shocking. For example, I might say in the middle of my sermon, ‘Last night I spent the evening in the arms of a married woman . . .’ When I have their attention I add ‘ . . . it was my wife.'”

Sometime later the younger man was preaching, but he could see members in his congregation fidgeting, some yawning and others looking at their watches, so he announced “Last night I spent the evening in the arms of a married woman . . .’ The congregation were rapt. Jaws hung open. Frosty stares came from some of the older members, all of which unnerved the young man, who added ‘ . . . and for the life of me I cannot remember who she was!!”


In a recent interview on the website Breakfast With Fred, Steve Brown (speaker for KeyLife, a prof at Reformed Seminary, and a Preaching Magazine senior consulting editor) explained that, “In my classes at the seminary, I teach a TULIP of communication. The TULIP presupposes the authority of Scripture, understanding doctrine, knowing how to exegete a text. The principles are as follows . . .
T = Therapeutic. ” The communicator must, by necessity, speak to problems with solutions. Like a surgeon, the words may heal or hurt to heal . . . but if there is no healing, then there is no real communication.”
U = Unconventional. “The greatest sin for a communicator is the sin of boring the audience . . . Don’t say it the way everybody else has said it. Don’t say the expected. Don’t fit into anybody else’s mold.”
L = Lucid. “I tell students that a good measurement of their communication skills is this question: If your listeners wanted to take notes, could they? . . . The content may be only one point made by a story . . . but that one point should be clear . . . clear enough so that it would be written down and put into practice.
I = Illustrated. “Stories are very, very important in modern communication. Learn where to find them, how to use them and then use the often . . . ”
P = Passionate. “If you don’t care, nobody else will. If you aren’t excited about what you are going to say, nobody else will be excited. So, if your “hot buttons” are not pushed, don’t try to communicate it to anybody else.” (To read the entire interview, click here.)
Quoted from PreachingNow email list

Different Kinds Of Preachers

“There are three types of preachers: those to whom you cannot listen; those to whom you can listen; and those to whom you must listen. During the introduction the congregation usually decides the kind of speaker addressing them that morning.”
Biblical Preaching (Baker, 2nd edition, 2002), p. 175

A Provocative Letter

The British Weekly published this provocative letter:

Dear Sir:

It seems ministers feel their sermons are very important and spend a great deal of time preparing them. I have been attending church quite regularly for thirty years, and I have probably heard 3,000 of them. To my consternation, I discovered I cannot remember a single sermon. I wonder if a minister’s time might be more profitably spent on something else.

For weeks a storm of editorial responses ensued … finally ended by this letter:

Dear Sir:

I have been married for thirty years. During that time I have eaten 32,850 meals — mostly my wife’s cooking. Suddenly I have discovered I cannot remember the menu of a single meal. And yet … I have the distinct impression that without them I would have starved to death long ago.

Spurgeon: Preaching is hard work

“I have heard of a brother who trusts in the Lord, and does not study; but I have also heard that his people do not trust in him; in fact, I am informed that they wish him to go elsewhere with his inspired discourses, for they say that, when he did study, his talk was poor enough, but now that he gives them that which comes first to his lips, it is altogether unbearable. If any man will preach as he should preach, his work will take more out of him than any other labour under heaven. If you and I attend to our work and calling, even among a few people, it will certainly produce a friction of soul and a wear of heart which will tell upon the strongest. . . .”
Charles Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry

Mark 17

A minister told his congregation, “Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17.”

The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands. He wanted to know how many had read Mark 17. Every hand went up. The minister smiled and said, “Mark has only sixteen chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying.”

Funerals And Septic Tanks!

As a young minister, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a graveside service for a derelict man with no family or friends who had died while travelling through the area. The funeral was to be held way back in the country. This man would be the first to be laid to rest at this cemetery.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost. Being the typical man, I didn’t stop for directions. But, I finally arrived an hour late. I saw the crew and backhoe, but the hearse was nowhere in sight. The workmen were eating lunch.

I apologized to the workers for my tardiness (who looked puzzled). I stepped to the side of the open grave to find the vault lid already in place. I assured the workers I would not hold them long, but this was the proper thing to do. As the workers gathered around, still eating their lunch, I poured out my heart and soul. As I preached the workers began to say “Amen, Praise the Lord, and Glory (they must have been Baptist). I preached and I preached like I’d never preached before. I began from Genesis all the way through to Revelation. I preached for two hours and 45 minutes. It was a long and lengthy service. I closed in prayer and it was finished.

As I was walking to my car, I felt that I had done my duty and would leave with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication, in spite of tardiness. As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another. “I’ve been putting in septic tanks for 20 years and I ain’t never seen anything like this before.”