A Statement No Preacher Should Make

stumpedSeldom does inspiration hit like lightning sparking a lightning rod.

That means sitting in your study chair, staring out the window waiting for the next great idea for a sermon is fruitless. Preaching each Sunday requires more perspiration than inspiration.

But Sunday’s coming and you cannot think of anything to preach.

What do you do?

Build a Dam

The best preaching comes from the overflow. To get a reservoir of ideas, have to build a dam.

Keep a notebook. They come in all forms from a pocket spiral notebook to electronic versions such as Evernote. When any idea comes, write it down with a few notes. The mind bubbles up ideas like a mountain stream. Once missed, they seldom return. Capture your thinking when you get it.

Readreadread. Usually preachers who have a dry well of creativity are not reading. Read all kinds of material. Read biographies, books on Bible topics, and current events. The mind will take the pieces and find order out of the myriad of details. If you can’t find time to read, get electronic books (most libraries have them) and listen in the care as you travel.

Make the most of daily Bible reading. The key to daily Bible reading is reading with “fresh eyes.” Keep a list of insights. What hits you that’s different than you’ve seen. It is in that “fresh glance” you find the ideas peeking out.

Play Hide and Seek

I’m sure you played hide and seek as a child. The point of the game is to find what is hidden from view.

The point of homiletic hide and seek is to find what you have not preached about. Do you keep a sermon log? You should. A sermon long reveals what you’ve preached on and what you’ve omitted. Look at your log. What have you left out? What have you hit lightly?  Preach on that!

Practice the Best Form of Flattery

One famous author said, “most of my ideas I have stolen from other writers. Thankfully, there was something worth stealing.”

When totally stuck, look at the work of other preachers. The advent of the internet made access to sermons ubiquitous. Listen to great preachers. Rework their thinking to own personality. You will find things you never thought about preaching. On top of that, you will learn about preaching, not just the subject preached. (If you need a good place to start, try here.)

There’s never an excuse to say to your leaders, “I just don’t know what to preach about.” If you are at a loss, you haven’t looked hard enough yet.

 

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