26. Go on an illustration hunt for a week. Take a week when you are not preaching, carry a notebook and try to fill it with material for messages. It could be traditional anecdotes, quotes, etc., but also look for normal life observations that people will resonate with . . . an illustration does not need to sound like it comes from an anthology of illustrations (please).
27. Evaluate a masterful communicator. Pick someone you think is a great communicator and watch them as if they are preaching in your classroom. What are they doing well? Why does it work? What can you learn? Perhaps take a traditional and a contemporary communicator, maybe even one from another culture . . . watch and learn.
28. Preach through a prayerful rehearsal. If you think it is unspiritual to run through a message out loud, perhaps the time has come. Pray, and go for it. Some things will only become evident when you hear them with your own ears! If you can preach where you will preach, all the better!
29. Pray for the people in their places. You know where certain people sit. Pray for them and the effect of the forthcoming ministry on their hearts and lives. It will help them, and it will help your preaching to invest in them in this way. Bless the church is a bit more vague than any prayer you will find in the Bible! Take a deep gulp of Colossians 1:9ff and then pray for people in your church.
30. Preach a grain instead of a slice. We can get very stuck in the pattern of preaching a chunk of text. Consider preaching a grain instead – that is, a theme as it develops through a book or section. You could even do this beyond the borders of a book and give a biblical theology of something. Don’t over reach, but variation can be so healthy for listeners as well as preachers!