The Fundamentals of Good Preaching
Eight years ago I was sick of my own preaching. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. My instinct was to focus more on the delivery side of preaching. In hindsight, my instinct was wrong. I needed to refocus on the fundamentals of preaching.
Here’s my belief: Get the fundamentals of preaching right, and everything else will take care of itself. If the fundamentals aren’t sound, it doesn’t matter what else you do. You won’t have a solid sermon.
When I teach preaching, I don’t care very much about delivery. Delivery will improve over time if a preacher is teachable. I care about the fundamentals. Get the fundamentals right, and you have a framework for an effective preaching ministry that can last a lifetime.
I don’t know anyone who’s done a better job of expressing the fundamentals than Chris Brauns in his new book When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search
. According to Chris, “A sermon should be a biblical bullet fired at the life of the listener.” If you unpack this sentence you have four keys to good preaching:
- Preach biblically – Preach the text. Let it shape the content of your sermon and its purpose.
- Preach a bullet – Find the main idea or burden of the text and preach that.
- Preach with fire – Seek God until you have unction, boldness, and urgency.
- Preach to the listeners – Preach to the people in front of you. Apply the message to their lives.
That’s it. The only thing I’d add (I think it’s implicit) is that the sermon should bring us to Christ and show us the truth of the passage in relation to him.
There are lots of things to learn about preaching, but in terms of fundamentals there are only a few. If the fundamentals are sound, delivery and everything else will develop over time. If the fundamentals aren’t there, delivery and everything else won’t matter.