21. Stop settling for sermon prep as Bible reading. If you have fallen into the rut of accepting that your sermon prep is your personal Bible reading, stop. My wife and I talk every day about church stuff and parenting stuff and house stuff and finance stuff. That doesn’t mean we have a close relationship. That takes heart to heart time. Ask the Lord if He would join you on a date. Take your Bible. As a preacher, why wouldn’t you do this?
22. Make your points into sentences. Simple thing, but let’s move away from summary commentary titles as points in our messages. Paul’s Contrition. Paul’s Consternation. Paul’s Contribution. These are not message points, they are titles (and not great ones). Make the point into a full sentence that actually says something and then you’ll find it easier to actually be saying something when you are preaching.
23. Print and mark your preaching text. Option 1 – cut and paste the passage, double space it, print it out and have at it . . . mark it up every which way to help you know it inside and out. Option 2 – photocopy (and maybe enlarge) your actual Bible page. Graffiti that page like crazy as you prepare your message. When it comes time to preach it, you will find yourself leaning on the text more than your notes.
24. Adjust your proxemics. Can that be treated? Indeed it can. Are you raised above the listeners, on a level, or situated below them. Each one makes a difference. Are they close or far away? Is there an obstacle between you and them? Is it the size of a submarine? All of these factors matter. Don’t just treat your set up as a given, but ponder the possibilities and try something different and evaluate the benefits.
25. Mix up your illustration type. Are all your illustrations from the world of sports, or from your own children’s bedtime wit, or always statistics, or always the fruit of fast google search? Are you stick in the world of canned quotes from Napoleon and Winston Churchill? Do you always go to another Bible passage to illustrate? Is every illustration essentially explanatory, or supporting the truth of a point, or applying it to folks? Mix up your approach and avoid getting stuck.