Preaching Better Sermons [Part Two]

Last week I posted about my journey of wanting to learn how to preach in a better way. I was preaching… but didn’t quite know if I was being effective or not. I learned that “preaching better” all depends on what your goal is. Andy Stanley says, “Your GOAL in preaching should determine your APPROACH in preaching.”

And there are 3 different goals you can pursue: 1) I WANT TO TEACH THEM SOMETHING, 2) I WANT THEM TO KNOW SOMETHING, or 3) I WANT THEM TO LIVE SOMETHING.

So once I figured out what my goal for preaching was (I landed on number 3) then it was time to re-organize my approach.

Whenever I plan out my sermons, the first thing I go after is my goal. I ask the question: “What am I calling them to do/live/change/be?” I created a storyboard for how I structure my sermons (you can find a blogpost about how I did that here.) and the answer to that question goes right in the middle of my storyboard. This is my goal for the message.

I then created 5 questions that I have to answer by the end of my message.

Question 1: How can I get their attention?

Question 2: What do I want them to feel?

Question 3: What do I want them to know?

Question 4: What do I want them to do?

Question 5: What difference will this make tomorrow?

These questions all need to be answered within the context of the greater goal of my message. They shape the major themes within my sermon and become great building blocks for what I want to communicate. And here is what I love about this approach: I love the fact that these are all questions that BEG to be answered within my sermon anyway. These are the questions that everyone is asking. I mean, just think about the last time you were under someone else’s teaching. Didn’t you want these five questions answered? The answers to these questions are the difference between a sermon that will stick and make a difference, and one that is just some more information to store away in our overloaded brains. If I have not answered these questions about my own sermon… I’m not ready to preach. Once I have these questions answered, I am ready to preach a better sermon.

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