Selling Sermons

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Ulsterman, May 30, 2007.

  1. Ulsterman

    Ulsterman
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    What do you think of those pastors/websites which sell sermon outlines and manuscripts? I have contributed sermons to sermon sites which are free to the user, but won't upload to any site that sells per sermon. I feel it is morally wrong. (I don't mind a nominal one-off subscription to those who run sites to help with upkeep).

    What do you think?
     
  2. MNJacob

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    Spurgeon's sermons were sold by the ton, of course that was the mass media of the day.

    And almost all of the modern media ministries charge for thier materials.

    I realize that what you are describing is a bit different, but bandwidth costs money and a subscription/use fee doesn't really bother me.
     
  3. TomVols

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    I have no problem with sermons being sold because there is overhead and costs associated with making these available (printing, online storage, etc.).

    My problem lies with those who buy or download them, free or otherwise. If they use them because they're too lazy to study on their own, or if they plagarize, then they are not fit for the pulpit. If they use them as grist for the mill, as part of their discipline of study, okay.
     
  4. Tom Bryant

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    I just pray that my sermons would be thought worthwhile to steal. :tonofbricks:

    Tom just made an important distinction between preaching someone's sermon and using it to help think through a passage. I often look at another preachers sermons after I have done my own study of a passage. I want to make sure that I am not way off base in an idea or point of the message. There have been times when I have gotten a better way of expressing my thoughts. But even after that I have to make certain that the thoughts are still Biblical and the applications are appropriate for the gathered church.
     
  5. TCGreek

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    As a pastor who preaches twice every Sunday, I would not sell my sermons, and neither would I condemn those who sell.

    I notice that John Piper offers free downloads and manuscripts, but on the other hand, John MacArthur sells. I go with Piper, my preference, but not condemnation of those who sell.
     
  6. Ulsterman

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    Agreed. However, isn't there something intrinsically wrong with turning the ministry of the Word into a business whereby one's only motivation is financial gain? When I was training for ministry I was taught that there are three things that will ruin a preacher, "glory, gold and girls". When someone sells his sermons purely for profit (I am not talking about the cost of materials or bandwidth) then shouldn't we raise a question mark?
     
  7. Hope of Glory

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    There's also nothing wrong with getting paid for the work you do.

    I personally would never sell a sermon, although people have asked permission to use them. I don't really care if they use it verbatim, as long as they don't give me credit for it. I would prefer they simply open the Scriptures and preach, and if they've found some words that I've put together to be pleasing, then give God the glory, not me!

    I am working on a sermon right now that I'm using some research that a friend put together. I'm using it word for word, with his permission, and just like me, he specifically wants no credit for him himself, only God. Now, I'm longer winded than my friend, so I will be adding some to it, but the core will be his work. There is nothing in it that needs to be changed.

    Now, if I'm citing a reference work, I will do that.
     
  8. Joseph M. Smith

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    I suppose there is really no intrinsic difference between selling a sermon via the Internet and publishing them in books, which plenty of people have done over the years.

    I submit much of my preaching work to SermonCentral.com, and have been pleased that a number of times others have contacted me to ask permission to use or adapt something I have done for their own uses. They have always assured me that they would note for their congregations that the material came from other than their own work. Affirming! But of course I have no way of knowing whether any of the sermons were just used as if they were from the preacher who read them.

    A prominent pastor in Washington, DC, was found to have plagiarized almost word-for-word the sermons of a New York pastor, and ended up being asked to leave his pulpit because of that. The irony is that this person is an extraordinarily gifted preacher and could have done his own work quite well.
     
  9. Carpenter

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    If a message truly comes from God, should we be concerned with plagiarism? Shouldn't it be profitable for all. I am just concerned that some begin getting a little "prideful" about "their" work.

    With that being said, A God-called preacher should be willing to study and open thier hearts to the messages God has specifically called them to deliver.
     
  10. Ulsterman

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    That's how I feel. I am a servant of the church - not just my local church, but the wider church also, and if someone wants to use an outline of mine, or part of a sermon, or whatever, and can do so in good conscience, I am glad that my gift has been a help to another, and hopefully a blessing to believers elsewhere. Over the years I have used materials in commentaries and elsewhere to strengthen my ministry. I question the motivation of someone who sells sermons, and like Carpenter wonder if they are not so full of themselves as to be guilty of pride.
     
  11. Tom Bryant

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    But when you preach a sermon acting as if the research, the points are all your own, it's a matter of integrity.

    I would also imagine that this wasn't a one time thing.
     
  12. Ulsterman

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    Absolutely, the preacher is required by Scripture to study for himself. If he just parrots the words of another, without recognition of that fact, then he is guilty of indolence and dishonesty.

    I have seen two identical sermons on a website, word for word, one a copy of the other, yet both being claimed as unique to the contributors. Obviously someone was plagiarising without a whisker of conscience. That's wrong. In fact I reported the matter to the site administrator and he promised to have the matter investigated and corrected.

    That said few sermons are entirely without reference to the work of others, if only a Bible Dictionary, Strong's Concordance, a commentary or whatever. If I am quoting another preacher I make it clear who it was that said or wrote the quote cited.
     
  13. SaggyWoman

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    Hehehehehe. I have never thought of that. I could start a new money maker!! :thumbs:
     
  14. gb93433

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    How many pastors do you know that had so little time and worked so hard at studying that they came to the same exact words of a sermon that another developed and preached?

    It is dishonest to preach another man's sermon and then claim it as your own. Is that not misleading people to believe that you labored and worked very hard to develop that sermon if you did not give out the source? Years ago I could trun on the radio on my way to church and hear a sermon by a well known preacher from the week before and then go to church and hear the same sermon that morning. Amazing how it always seemed to work out that way.
     
    #14 gb93433, Jun 1, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2007
  15. Carpenter

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    gb,

    I know what you are saying and I don't disagree in principle. What I AM saying is if it is from God and it can be used to help bring others closer to God, it does not bother me.

    My objective in preaching is not to "lead people into believing" anything about me but about the Truths of God.

    But I strongly believe that a God-called preacher should be willing to study and open thier hearts to the messages God has specifically called them to deliver.
     
  16. gb93433

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    I would say that a sermon is much much more than words. It is most of all the communication of a passion for God. How can a man be passionate if he has not spent time in the closet and let God speak to him first? A person who has a passion for God can tell the difference between words and commuinication that has fire and passion.

    I have heard some preachers who did not speak very loud but they had fire and passion because of knowing God, not just about Him. They had something to say and something to give.

    When we have something to say people will listen. Some sermons cannot be preached unless the preacher knows God and has lived a life of obedience. That is what makes the difference between an orator and a preacher full of fire for God.

    A mist in the pulpit does create a fog in the pew.
    Charles R. Swindoll (1934- )

    A preacher is one who leads men from what they want to what they need.
    Ralph Washington Sockman (1889-1970)

    A prepared messenger is more important than a prepared message.
    Robert Boyd Munger (1910- )

    Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of God upon the earth.
    John Wesley (1703-1791)
     
  17. blackbird

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    I find the good majority of online sermons are not worth purchasing

    I mean, which cake would you rather eat----one that your wife whipped up from a box or the other that she made from scratch???

    I've been accused of preaching downloaded sermons----but I would swear in a court of law that I never have---never once!!!
     
    #17 blackbird, Jun 2, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2007
  18. Brother Bob

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    To me sermons are revelations from God. We are just the instruments. I don't know how many of you preach as we do and come to the stand just trusting that God will deliver the message. I am not reflecting on the way anyone else handles their preaching, just explaining how all of us do in the Old Regular Baptist, Primitive Baptist and United Baptist that I know personally.

    Also Blackbird, we are accused of eating all the chickens, that is why there is a shortage from time to time. :)

    BBob,
     
  19. tinytim

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    Brother Bob... I have often wondered if people consider the preacher's sermons like you describe as being inspired by God... since they believe that the preacher is God's mouthpiece...
     
  20. Brother Bob

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    Brother Tim;
    I sure think that they are inspired of God. We have a saying, "if you can't feel it, then I don't want it". Of course sometimes its just me up there. :laugh:

    If you are interested in how we sound while preaching, here is a brother who left us to start his own association, but sounds like most of us.

    Listen to Elder Mike Slone.

    http://www.cumberlandbooks.com/bhservices/
     
    #20 Brother Bob, Jun 2, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2007

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