Back in the 1950’s H. Grady Davis shifted the metaphor for a sermon. Instead of something constructed by the preacher, a building, it is something grown, akin to a tree. Here is another quote used in McDill’s book, 12 Essential Skills (I appreciate these quotes at the start of each chapter).
A sermon should be like a tree. . . .
It should have deep roots:
As much unseen as above the surface
Roots spreading as widely as its branches spread
Roots deep underground
In the soil of life’s struggle
In the subsoil of the eternal Word.
The real strength of a sermon is not found in delivery, although that aspect matters much. It is not found in the structure and content – try stealing a sermon and notice that it feels weaker than when you heard it from its source! The strength of a sermon has to reside in the roots. So check the roots of your sermons, of your ministry as a preacher. Are they deep into the soil of life’s struggle? Are they deeper still in the subsoil of the eternal Word? Let’s be sure we are not preaching impressive, but rootless sermons . . . a breeze might just blow them over!