Preferred Method of Preaching?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by JohnB, May 11, 2005.

  1. JohnB

    JohnB
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    If you are a pastor, what is your preferred method of preaching?

    If you are a congregant, what is your pastor's preferred method of preaching?

    Does he preach on a different text, or portion, each week? Book by book? A topical series? If topical, what kinds of topics? Doctrinal?

    My pastor preachs in a style I call the "Redbook Method." (As in the ladie's magazine Redbook.)

    First, you pick a topic, usually psychological in nature, such as "Overcoming Depression."

    Then you create some points. (Like the magazine, "5 Steps to overcoming Depression")

    Then you find some verses for each point.

    Finally, create a fill in the blank sermon outline for the bulletin.

    Now, I believe that these sermons contain Bible truth. But I am wondering how many other churches have "Redbook" sermons.
     
  2. Bro. James Reed

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    Extemporaneous only.

    I have no use for a "preacher" who has to write out a "sermon" in order to "preach".

    Bible truths they may contain, but preaching they are not.
     
  3. StefanM

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    Sometimes I preach topically, but when I do so, I preach on a topic which is present usually in a single passage of scripture. I might also preach doctrinally at times using this method.

    I typically rely on texts anywhere from 5 or so verses to an entire chapter, depending on how long the passage is.

    I preached recently what might be considered a "series" in that I preached on 3 different parables of Christ on three consecutive Sundays, but I usually do not preach in a series.

    I don't use bulletin inserts.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    Some of the very best preachers have copious notes, and some even read from a complete manuscript. When a farmer ploughs a field, he does not scatter all over his acreage, but systematically ploughs in furrows. He has guidelines to follow. So it is with the preacher. I have heard some extemporaneous preachers. One had difficulty knowing where they came from and where they are going. They don't know when to quit, and never strike a home run.

    JUst as we would not consider ploughing a field with a shovel, so we ought not to preach without proper preparation and using all then tools at our disposal.

    Having said this, I use all methods of preaching; topical, exegetical and systematic studies of God's word.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. USN2Pulpit

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    I think that is pretty well-put, Jim1999. While I am able to preach "extemporaneously," I generally don't - because I go down to many rabbit trails. The preparations I go through, as well as the outline I bring with me, serve to give me a kind of "roadmap" to follow.
     
  6. Squire Robertsson

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    By training, my messages are usually exegetically based. Though, the message itself may be a topical one. As for extemporaneous compared to written out, if I could, I'd preach with just my divisional words in my Bible's margin. But I am not that well practiced. So, I go into the pulpit with a single sheet of 8.5x11 on which are my intro and outline (main and the their subpoints). I find I have more than enough freedom to preach the message God has given me for my hearers.
     
  7. TaterTot

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    My husband most often preaches expositionally, and that is what I prefer to hear. Sometimes, though, a different style is a nice change.
     
  8. exscentric

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    I usually go verse by verse through books of the Bible, but have done a lot of topicals as well.

    Due to the wiring in my brain I simply cannot preach without a full set of notes before me. I type the entire sermon out and have it with me. I normally go over it four or five times and mark the highpoints so my eyes can catch them easily.

    Without notes - I'd be done in four minutes and noone would know why we bothered.

    I know the Lord did the extemporaneous thing, but then He had total recall of all there is to know :)
     
  9. Bethelassoc

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    I define 'extemporaneous' as without any help (except the Holy Spirit). Is that how you all define it?

    I use my Bible only when I preach. I do study and make notes at home, but I leave them at home. I tried notes behind the pulpit one time and I felt totally lost.

    I know some of the "old timers" (where I grew up) didn't know how to read and so their wives would read them the bible and they would preach from memory. I'm sure some may still have to do it that way.
     
  10. Jim1999

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    The word extemporaneous literally means without preparation. This is not the same as memorizing a sermon, or speaking without the aid of notes.

    At one of my seminaries, we were trained to speak on a moments notice without aids or preparation. Single words were placed in a dish and we had to choose one,,say, "milk" and then speak for 5 minutes on that word.

    We were also trained to logically construct a sermon, and to develop pulpit notes to aid the memory and remain coherent.

    Most people with enough experience can address a congregation or group extemporaneously, but I think it is a false sense of spirituality to do it on a continuous basis, and do justice to the service of a pastor, whether you call him a pastor or elder.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. TexasSky

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    My Pastor starts out his sermon preparation by praying, and asking God, "Let me step aside, and let You speak through me." He stays on his knees for quite some time. Whatever God puts on His heart is what he preaches on. He continues to pray and write from one sermon to the next sermon, every day.

    Yes, he uses notes that we can all follow.

    Sometimes his prayerful request leads him to preach on a topic, in which case, he will move back and forth through the Bible.

    At other times it leads him to preach on a set book of the bible.

    The thing we have noticed is that very often, in fact, almost always, after the service, when he is saying goodbye, people will come up and ask him, "How did you know that I was struggling with this?" Or, "I've been praying for God to show the answer to this for weeks." Or, "Pastor, thank you so much! I've had so much on my mind and heart, and I feel like God just handed me the answer to the problem."

    Often there will be several of us who, after the service, will discover that the Lord had laid on us, in our private ministries, the very same thing he had laid on the Pastor's heart, and that without us consulting one another, we've all been researching and praying about the same things.

    There have been times when he has gotten to the pulpit and said, "I know the program says I'm going to talk about this, and that's what the Lord laid on my heart, but this morning, I felt lead to discuss this instead, so please bear with me while I teach you what I think God wants me to teach today."

    Its kind of amazing.
     
  12. Dragoon68

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    The message - what's given and what's received - by the preaching is what is important. If it is from God it matters not how man prepared for it. God inspires some to preach in one way and others in another way.

    I've heard "extemporaneous" sermons that reflected complete lack of preparation resulting in virtually nothing being given or received. These sermons weren't preaching at all but merely unprepared rambling from men who didn't take the time or effort to study the word of God prior to their appointment. On the other hand, I've heard what seemed to be very well prepared sermons that had just as nil effect because they were too rehearsed and seemed mechanical or shallow.

    I've always found preaching that touches the heart and mind to be sincere, focused, concise, and, most of all, believable as proven by follow up study that confirms the truth of what was communicated.

    Patrick
     
  13. Bro. James Reed

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    Then why have a preacher at all?

    Why not just type up some notes and hand them out to the congregation?

    It sure would save a lot of time.

    Patrick, I think you will find that Primitive Baptists, liberal, conservative, or what have you, will not hold to the idea of having written sermons, notes, etc in the pulpit. You are in a very miniscule minority on this issue.

    I am in agreement with bethelassoc on this issue all the way.

    Again, any man, or woman for that matter, can read a prepared sermon, but it takes a preacher, a true man of God, to preach, in the Spirit, the whole riches of God's grace.

    There are far too many people out there nowadays who think they are preachers because they went to seminary and are able to write a sermon. Friends, that is not what makes a preacher. Only God can make a preacher and only the Spirit can move a man to preach.

    Preacher's preached the gospel for 1800 years without the use of notes, why do so many feel that a man has to have them to preach now?

    I guess it's yet another reason that we are Primitive (Old School) Baptist.

    Bro. James
     
  14. TexasSky

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    Brother James,

    You wrote Again, any man, or woman for that matter, can read a prepared sermon

    But.. not every man, woman or child can prepare one. Preparing a sermon doesn't mean a man of God isn't speaking from his heart and soul. You seem to assume that the preparation done all week was "research paper" more than "prayer." I have yet to meet a minister that didn't spend so much time on their knees praying for God to help them prepare a sermon that they wore out the carpet.

    And - for that matter - aren't we all grateful that Paul wrote his sermons down?
     
  15. Bro. James Reed

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    For starters, Paul did not write his sermons down and preach from them.

    He wrote letters of instruction to the several churches of his day.

    That is a far cry from preaching that even Paul acknowledges.

    Secondly, my fist question still stands.

    If preaching can be done by reading a written sermon, then why have a preacher at all? All we need are writers.

    If a preacher writes a sermon, but has a woman deliver the sermon, is she preaching or reading?

    That is the difference.

    I know many preachers who write down their thoughts and teachings for people to read, but that is different from preaching the gospel.
     
  16. Jim1999

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    Paul never pastored a church either. We are talking about a different time and a different ministry.

    There are plenty of people who claim to be Spirit led, and I shouldn't like to follow them. Again, this false sense of spiritual superiority just doesn't hold.

    Paul speaks in Timothy about the value of studying. I never heard of a professor in university who didn't study, prepare well and develop notes for his/her lectures. The same is true of ministering the word of God. Only a fool steps into the pulpit with nothing but what he perceives to be the leading of the Spirit. The lkes of Jimmy Swaggart and Jimmy Baker made the same claims and they even prove it by speaking in tongues.

    No, I will take the well schooled and prepared preacher anyday. I am not interested in the gobbeldy-gook offered in far too many churches, including the vain repetition where 45 minutes sermons are interepreted as being super-spiritual messages. We are teaching God's word, not rewriting it.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. Dragoon68

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    I don't care whether I'm in the minority - minuscule or not - or the majority on most any issue. I try not to let that be my measure of the correct position to have.

    Again, what counts is that the message - what's given and what's received - be from God!

    It doesn't matter whether the preaching is prepared or unprepared, whether notes are used or not, etc. but only that the message be as God desires it to be. The issue here is not substitution of written sermons for spoken sermons.

    God is the source of the God's message and man is merely the oracle through which is is given. Thus a man, not of God can not, of his own accord, present His message no matter how well he prepares. The Holy Spirit moves a man to deliver His message in whatever venue He desires with or without preparation. A man does not become less moved by the Holy Spirit through preparation for a sermon. The Holy Spirit is not less prepared by man's lack of preparation.

    However, given my observations - as a consumer of preaching - over many years and the awareness of man's serious limitations, I've concluded that God the Holy Sprit, more often than not, requires His more effective ministers to prepare their sermons through prayer for guideance followed by diligent study, organization, and whatever aids they might need to help them. I've heard some who were unprepared and substituted babbling, endless repetition, or theatrics for God's message because they had not done their homework.

    Different messages - all being centered on the good news of salvation by grace - are needed at different times, in different places, by different people. God has His way of reaching His chosen children and is free, despite our feeble attempts to regulate and confine Him, to do as He wants through whatever means He wants.

    Plenty of good preachers use notes. The obsession with "no notes" is another one of those legalistic diversions from what really matters. I don't plan to endorse such foolish platforms so long as I can wisely avoid it. Likewise, I admire a man of God who is so moved, so prepared, so experienced that he has no need of notes.

    Attending a seminary, although not necessary, doesn't make a man an illegitimate preacher. Some people are so caught up in justifying the correctness of their own church's decision not to endorse seminaries that they find fault with all those who have attended one. That's wrong! Likewise, I've meet preachers who've never set foot in a seminary that knew the word of God inside out and could preach His message with great effect.

    I don't believe man can create preachers but I think Biblical study - individual, group, or institutionalized - can help one chosen by God to be a preacher. The danger, of course, in any of these three remains that man's understanding be substitued for God's truths.

    Patrick
     
  18. Dragoon68

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    Excellent points Jim!
     
  19. Dragoon68

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    Yes! I'm also most happy that some of that which Jesus preached has been recorded for us today and still serves as a sermon every bit as relevant as it was when spoken by Him.

    Patrick
     
  20. Squire Robertsson

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    This discussion reminds me of my teaching notes I put together for a homiletics course. I took these ideas from Lloyd-Jones' Preaching and Preachers
    While a sermon outline or even a completely written out sermon maybe read from the pulpit, that doesn't make what is happening preaching. There is a matter of the unction of the Holy Spirit on the speaker. Without the Holy Spirit, there is no preaching.

    I am a firm believer in I Cor. 4:2:
    Being a Californian, I apply this verse to this subject in this way. God expects me to use to the fullest extent such tools and talents has He has given me. If all I have is a shovel and a pan, then I'll get such flakes and nuggets gold as I can find in the river. If I have sluice box, then I'll get more gold from the river. If I can dig a shaft and follow the ore vein, then I can increase my finds. As applied to preaching, if I don't have a talent for lanuages, He doesn't expect me to be a Greek and Hebrew scholar. On the other hand, if I have taken a class in English Grammar and Composition, He expects me to use those lessons.
     

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