I have finished my class at Lipscomb on Preaching, but I continue to process the information. Even more difficult than processing what I learned is attempting to put it into practice.
If I were to distill the lessons I learned in class in a few bullet points, it would look something like this:
- Be Textual. Start with a text, dwell in the text, meditate on the text, and allow the message of the sermon to flow from the text.
- Use Your Imagination. Preaching is not just a cerebral presentation of the facts (although it may include some of that). It is an art that should engage the heart while entering into the world of the text and interacting with the world of the audience.
- Form is Important. Content is essential, but form should not be dismissed. How the material is presented should be intentional and reflect the content and mood of the message. The sermon should take its cue from the Bible, which has many diverse, but intentional forms for the presentation of its material.
- Be Coherent. The sermon should have a single, unified message. The focus and function of the sermon can be written out in short, succinct statements. The focus statement identifies the controlling theme of the sermon and tells what the sermon should say. The function statement identifies what is desired as a response by the hearer. It states what the sermon should do.
- Don’t make bullet-points. Doing so often fails to account for the form of the text or the process of discovery in the text. It may unnecessarily reduce the text to a proposition.
That’s some of what I learned and some of what I will be trying to implement in my future sermon preparation and delivery. We’ll see how it goes.