As we are all about to head into a new (school) year of preaching, how about a big collection of little tweaks for effective preaching? In no particular order, here come the fifty summer tweaks to sift through and prayerfully consider:
1. Be mastered by a book. Whether you regularly preach through whole books or not, make sure you spend enough time soaking in a book that it can truly grip you. Be saturated so that when squeezed, you ooze the content of that book. Then prepare a series to invite others into that blessing.
2. Invite others into the preparation process. We all tend to go solo on preaching preparation. Invite some folks to join you. Perhaps in a group, perhaps a series of conversations, perhaps ask for help on facebook or twitter. Perhaps talk through the message, perhaps ask for help on support material, perhaps find out where others think the points of tension lie. It will probably be better together.
3. Lean less on your notes. If you are a manuscript reader, take only an outline. If you are a notes user, experiment with note-less. Be as prepared as you can, but make the message simpler in structure, stick in a passage and run through it several times. Going noteless is not as hard as you think, and the benefits might mean you never go back!
4. Stay put, dig deeper. If you are a concordance freestyler, try preaching a message where you stay put. You will find that you will tend to dig deeper in the passage and apply more fully in the present. Both are good things! Only cross-reference if there is a genuine need to do so.
5. Craft the main idea a little bit more. Take an hour at some point and work on the main idea of the message for an hour more than you normally would. How can it be more precise, more memorable, more relevant, more text specific, more encouraging, less wordy, less historic, less theologically phrased?