"Canned" Sermons

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by JohnB, May 17, 2005.

  1. JohnB

    JohnB
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    I just discovered that my pastor is using canned sermon outlines from Rick Warren's Pastor.com site. In another thread, I described these as "Redbook" sermons, 10 ways to this, or 5 ways to that. Fill in the blank pop psychology with some Bible verses tacked on to make it "biblical." The series we are in now is "Dealing with Depression."

    As a Sunday School teacher, I am well aware of the need to use resources. (Though I personally do not like using quarterlies.) And I certainly expect a pastor to be well read. But is it too much to expect a pastor to do 20 hours of study a week and come up his own sermon?

    How common do you think canned messages are? Does the pastor have an obligation to tell folks that he is using canned material?
     
  2. NateT

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    Sadly, I think they are more common than we'd like to believe. However, I think the pastors here would skew the statistics to show that they are not common. -- By that, I mean that the pastors here tend to be the ones who put the work in. So if we only interviewed the pastors here, we'd see average sermon prep takes 15-20 hours.

    My reason for saying they are common is look at the "Pastoral Helps" section in the bookstore. You will see a ton of sermon outlines, some more filled out than others. If they didn't sell, they wouldn't be there.

    As far as telling people. I think the first step is to go to the pastor and discuss your concerns. I don't know that it is a sin to use "canned" sermons, so I'm not sure you need to follow the rules of discipline.

    I would be quite upset if my pastor was using them. My view is that the primary job of the pastor is guiding the flock and teaching them. It is easier to teach them if you've spent time laboring over the text.

    However, I do realize that preaching is by far not the only task of the pastor, especially in a small church, perhaps he feels he has no other choice because of the demands on his time for visitation, meetings etc.
     
  3. JohnB

    JohnB
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    Oh, don't get me wrong. I am disappointed. But I am not going to make this an issue. My pastor is a great guy and a real evangelist. I recognize that some ministers are better "pastors (shepherds)" than preachers.

    But I would be happier if his sermons reflected his own personal spiritual experience, Bible learning and walk with Christ than someone elses.
     
  4. USN2Pulpit

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    Then approach it that way. Be encouraging - especially if you know he's already working very hard in the ministry.

    From my point of view, if someone told me they were praying for me not only when I deliver the message, but also for my diligent preparation beforehand, that would mean a lot to me - and be very helpful. I would be encouraged...and from your point of view, that would probably help.
     
  5. Trotter

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    Humph... If my former pastor would have used canned sermons, I might have stayed.

    Six years of "rant of the week" was all I could take...

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  6. Jim1999

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    I am not making excuses, but the average pastor has at least 4 sermons each week...let's see, that would be 80 hours a week preparation..your recockoning, not mine..........Then there are funerals, special meetings and the routine duties in between....sure makes canned sermons sound good.

    We are not superhumans, and as spiritual as we might be, there are human limits to resources. Certainly we use helps. Hopefully that is all they are, but sadly some have fallen into the trap of actually using outlines without changes.

    I tried it once and it was indeed canned. Matter of fact, it was like a tin of rotten sardines, and never to me repeated in my lifetime.

    Cheers, with a little understanding,

    Jim
     
  7. JohnB

    JohnB
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    Thanks for your feedback. I certainly understand time constraints. My father was a Baptist minister for 40 years. I still have some of his library and most of his notes.

    I guess I am surprised because I have never run into "canned" material in the pulpit. I am used to it in Sunday School, quarterlies, study guides, etc. But I just have not experenced pastor's buying their material.

    I suppose, from comments here and others I have talked to, that it is way more common than I imagine.

    Do you think this marks a decline of the primacy of preaching? I know that the centrality of the sermon in the worship service is largely a Reformation innovation and I realize that there is much more to "doing church" than the sermon.
    It seems that the sermon today is more of a pep talk, rather than a "Thus saith the Lord" pronouncement from Sinai.
     
  8. blackbird

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    "Canned" sermons???? Hmmmmmmmmm----not a bad idea!!! Now, as in canned vegetables vs. home grown "fresh from the garden" variety----you can definately "tell" the difference!!! Same way with "canned" sermons-----vs. "home grown" sermons!!!

    I happen to have a sizable "hobby" farm--grow corn, tomatoes, okra, squash, watermelon---etc.---anyway---I was out in the "corn patch" the other day with a push plow---throwin' dirt onto the row from the middles---you gardeners know what I'm talkin' about!!! There came upon my forehead--certain beads of perspiration called sweat---I mean, by the bucket fulls!!!! Sweat makes the corn, watermelons, tomatoes, and everything else taste sweeter!!!!!

    As a preacher---to other preachers---get out in the garden----push your plow----sweat a little bit behind the study desk---keep your nose in the Bible and the study books----'cause you know what???? Home grown taste sweater than canned!!!
     
  9. All about Grace

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    Preachers of yesteryears relied upon the study and commentaries of men who were either a) dead or b) out of touch with the pastor's culture. I find no fault in one who chooses to draw from the study and application of modern preachers who have an ear to the cultural ground.

    Rick Warren and others make it clear that they stand on the shoulders of others and have no problem with modern pastors standing upon the shoulders of those who devote most of their time and energy to preparation. Obviously this reliance can be taken to an extreme and a pastor can become others-reliant instead of God-reliant.

    Every pastor/preacher is relying on the study of someone. So what if it is someone who is still alive and has a heart for applicable preaching? I say the pastor who wants to build from the best is a wise man

    I get sermon thoughts and series ideas from a host of sources. Remember nothing is original. The old adage says that one pastor decided to be original or nothing and he became both.
     
  10. blackbird

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    I heard Dr. Adrian Rogers say

    "If my bullets fit in your gun----load 'um and shoot!!!
     
  11. patrick

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    Rick Warren's sermons are not pop psych. He is a well rounded and theologicaly correct preacher. Should preachers use canned sermons. I feel from time to time it is all right. I do not think it should be an ongoing thing. I feel sometimes there are legit reasons for a preacher to use one. You should not be quick to judge with knowing all the facts.
     
  12. Bro.Rick

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    I have used available sermons from the internet and books. As a guide! I see no problem using other sources to write a sermon. Someone else did a lot of work to write an outline, why should it go to waste. I can take it, re work it and deliver a message that will communicate the word of God and change lives.
     
  13. Johnv

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    Using outlines and guides is not a bad thing. They're one of many tools public speakers (including pastors) use for effective presentations. The speaker is simply using the outlines to assist himself in his presentation. The only time this would be a problem is if the speaker uses the outline as a crutch, rather than a tool, and the listening audience is typically bright enough to know when that happens.

    Simply using sermon outlines is by no means delivering a "canned" sermon.
    20 hours a week? Yeah, I think that's too much to ask. The primary purpose of a pastor is not a deliver a 30 minute message once a week. The primary purpose is to lead a church. That takes a lot of adminimistrative and pastoral effort. If a pastor is committing half of his time every week to deliver a half hour message, the pastor needs to take some "effective use of resources" class.
     
  14. Paul of Eugene

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    My pastor is using canned sermons right out of Matthew. [​IMG]
     
  15. Brads70

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    Ya I've gone home after a service and googled the sermon title ( or series) and found where it came from..... I do have a bit of an issue with this. In our church we have 6-8 Pastors ( I lose track how many we have?) with about 700-1000 people in attendance.
    I wouldn't have such an "issue" if he had said something like " Hey I heard this really great sermon by______? and think we all could benefit from it. Or This sermon by ______ really spoke to me and I feel led to share it with you, or something to that effect.... but he doesn't. The problem I have is people are now amazed how spiritual and wise this young Pastor is etc... He is letting people believe he is something he is not. Almost bordering on fake? ( Can't find the right words to express my thoughts..? ) Now when a controversial issue comes up people just blindly agree with what ever he says.
     
    #15 Brads70, Jan 24, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2012
  16. preacher4truth

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    Plagiarism is rampant. Doing this is being deceitful and dishonest. I've seen quotes used with no credit given to the original author. This makes it come across as it is their own, and is frankly lying. One shouldn't have to ask where it came from, and those quoting others should give the credit to whom it is due, and not attempt to look as if it came from them.

    I think those who preach should come up with their own sermons. One pastor gave me a hard time about coming up with messages and series from the Bible itself, instead of consulting and getting my sermons from a sermon outline book. Pretty much, he opened a sermon outline and preached it. There was very little preparation involved.

    - Peace
     
  17. Jim1999

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    Tough to get canned sermons when I stared out. Twenty hours a week for sermon preparation is nothing. Try preaching 4 times a week, funerals and weddings and only 20 hours preparation time!! I used to make study notes whilst driving from home to home. Did Sunday morning sermon Saturday and Sunday evening sermon Sunday afternoon, never got to bed before 2 0r 3 in the morning and always up by five.

    Soft touch to-day, if we can borrow other's sermons! Sucks, even have computers to-day. We did well to have a typewriter.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  18. mont974x4

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    A senior pastor was going on vacation and left the weekly duties and that weeks sermon in the hands of his associate. When he returned from vacation he was in his office and one of the elderly ladies stopped in to drop off some clothes for the church lending closet. The pastor asked her how the Sunday service went. She commented that the service itself went off well but the sermon was dry and had no real point that she could tell. Well that dear lady was the oldest member of the church and had been known to be both encouraging and challenging for the pastors that had come and gone. A wise pastor learned to hear her wisdom. With that in mind the senior went to ask his associate about the service. When he asked the young pastor how the sermon went the associate shyly admitted to having a bad week and little prep time. When asked what he ended up doing the associated said he dusted off one of the senior pastors old sermons.


    Now, I am an associate pastor. I preach in regular intervals and when our senior pastor is on vacation. I also sometimes cover our monthly service at the local rescue mission, and our last fall our annual month at a local retirement home. I have a few books of outlines as well as a copy of the "Preacher's Resource Book: 2010". These can be helpful if you need ideas for a special occasion (like Mother's Day) or if you do a Sanctity of Life Sunday in January. However, these are just jumping off points. And, for the weekly ministry of the Word there is nothing better than sharing what you have first learned through wrestling with a text.

    That said, we are supposed to be men of integrity. If you use someone's illustration or outline, you should give proper credit. If you totally re-preach someone else's sermon, then there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
     
  19. Squidward

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    I really do not mind canned prefab outlines as long as the pastor can explain it in a way that all can understand, he did his research to expand on it, and he doesn't sound as if he has no business in the pulpit.

    I remember one traveling evangelist was at a Church of God I attended 12-13 years ago and he delivered nearly word for word a sermon done by Rod Parsley a couple of years earlier. I had that Parsley sermon on tape so I was familiar with it. Got a copy of this preacher's sermon and listened to both and the other guy raised his voice and closely mimicked Parsely's vocals in certain parts.
     
  20. abcgrad94

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    I try to feed my family homemade, cooked-from-scratch foods. It's harder work and more time-consuming, but it's healthier for my family. But ya know what? I'm not superwoman. There are days, weeks sometimes, where I'm physically unable to stand for hours in the kitchen. There are days when we've had emergencies at home or at the church. There are days when the unexpected (like life!) happens and my family doesn't get my home-grown, home-canned, made from scratch food.

    In those cases, I have a few back-ups in the pantry. These include (gasp!) pre-packaged foods or frozen dinners or even something unhealthy like bologna and potato chips. My family still gets fed. In a few months, they won't remember what I served them, but they'll remember they didn't miss a meal. They were fed. They'll know they had the energy to keep living, keep moving, and thriving. They understand that I'll meet their needs the best I can.

    Don't pastor's deserve the same understanding? Maybe if church members did more with the church work, the pastor would have more time to devote to those made-from-scratch messages we all enjoy so much.
     

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