I’m no expert in bad preaching, but I’ve done my share. I’ve observed that there are countless ways to preach well, but there are only a few key steps you need to master if you want to preach poorly. Anyone can do them.
- Skip on exegesis – Preaching preparation is half exegesis and half homiletics. If you want to save time, skip the exegesis and spend all your time on the homiletical side. Your schedule will thank you. (Nobody else will.)
- Forget the big idea – We’ve been taught that sermons should be bullets, not buckshots. It takes a lot of time and work to come up with the main burden of the text. If you want to preach poorly, then remember, clarity about the big idea of the text must be sacrificed.
- Come up with your own purpose for the sermon – Sure, there is such a thing as authorial intent. And yes, in theory, our sermon’s purpose should match the text’s purpose as much as possible. But if you stick to the purpose of the text, you’re robbing yourself of the ability to come up with all kinds of clever messages that may not be strictly biblical – but do they ever preach! (They sell books too.)
- Prepare at the last minute – We’ve all tasted food that’s simmered. And we’ve all tasted food that’s been microwaved at the last minute. If you want to preach poorly, then don’t allow yourself the luxury of simmering. All it takes is one or two good sermons for your people to lose their taste for microwaved sermons. We can’t let that happen.
- Preach moralism – Spurgeon said, “Whenever I get hold of a text, I say to myself, ‘There is a road from here to Jesus Christ, and I mean to keep on His track till I get to Him.’” But really, have you seen some of these roads? If you want to preach poorly, it’s far easier just to tell people they should be better and let them figure it out.
- Preach to everyone in general – Don’t preach to the people in front of you. Preach to some generic audience. That way your sermons will be just as bad in your next church too.
This is the best advice I can give you on how to preach poorly. I’m open to learning from you. Is there anything I’ve missed?