Essential Ingredients of the Best Preaching

According to Greg Haslam, there are five ingredients common to good preaching.  He lists and expands these in chapter 11 of Preach the Word, the hefty book he edited in 2006.

1.    Therapeutic – “All preaching that is God-centred and leads to encounter with God will inevitably be therapeutic, or healing in its effects.” (p151)

2.    Unconventional – “Within good preaching there is an element of surprise, so that it often startles and, dare I say, even shocks the hearer.” (p152)  Haslam urges the preacher to take some risks in preaching, becoming bolder in application of the Word.  He points to Jesus for several examples of unconventional, but powerful, preaching.

3.    Lucid – “A sermon is both a spiritual and an intellectual exercise.  It will make demands on the intellect and should engage it completely.” (p.153)  Haslam goes on to describe the need for prepared preaching, with purposeful planning, memorable points, etc.

4.    Illustrated – “I would go so far as to say that without illustration it is probably not possible to teach or preach from the Bible very well.”  (p.154)

5.    Passionate – “Our preaching must contain emotion and also evoke emotion in our hearers.  It should be full of pathos, energy and enthusiasm.  In the West we urgently need to reconnect the broken circuits between our heads and our hearts.”  (p.154)

The discerning reader might notice the alternative use of a famous acrostic in this.  Nevertheless, these are points to ponder.  Would you add to the list?  What if you could only have five ingredients?

One thought on “Essential Ingredients of the Best Preaching

  1. Would question number 1 – encounters with God are not always healing! E.g. can be condemnatory etc.

    Number 2 is fair enough, but would question if it’s a first order item. Perhaps ‘engaging’ instead – one aspect of which would be that sermons may often suprise. It also seems to be impossible by definition for all ‘good preaching’ to be ‘unconventional’!

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