Point 1

ExclamationSome quick-fire suggestions to strengthen the points part of sermons:

1. Actually say something.  Don’t settle for titles, instead write full points.  Make a statement.  Declare something.  It is better to have a full sentence than a label.  Labels and titles are written communication, but spoken communication doesn’t use titles.  When we tell a story from our day, we don’t use titles:

“So while I was filling the car at the petrol station I noticed that the tyre had a bulge in the side.  I checked it, and sure enough, a hernia in the tyre wall.  Tyre Replacement.  So I took the car into town and ended up having two tyres replaced at the place next to the car dealer.  It was not cheap, I can tell you, but safer than . . .”

We don’t speak like that, so let’s not preach like that.

2. Try to make the point contemporary rather than historical.  Why talk for several minutes about the ancient near eastern historical background to a point made by a letter writer back in the day…and then make an application before moving on.  Listeners could well have moved on long before you get to the application.  Why not make the point itself relevant to us and then support that from the text?

3. If you want to write a commentary, write it, don’t preach it.  The last two points really mean that we are not called to preach a commentary (with its historically rooted titles for sections).  So while commentaries may be useful in our preparation, they can never do the work for us.

Lots more to say, what would you add?

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One thought on “Point 1

  1. But…but…I like pretending I’m clever by using lame plays on words!

    I’ve rarely come against the second and third points but, having sat under preachers who’ve taught topically for about 9 years now, I get to see number one almost every week. I think it’s tempting to write a “chapter title” as a point because it’s the ultimate simplifier. I mean, isn’t that the reason we defer to labels in the first place? To simplify and reduce?

    Part of the problem may stem from, and this sounds like it could apply to all three, preachers attempting to make a point that the text is not. In my limited preaching experience, I’ve found it tempting to preach an “issue,” rather then just letting the text speak for itself. That’s when I come up with bogus titles and an hour’s time to write some silly title for a point.

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