First off, let me commend you for looking to improve your preaching!
90% of church visitors say good preaching is the single biggest reason they come back the second week.
That’s why taking time to develop your preaching skills is a win-win for you and your church.
Honestly, the first few times I got behind a pulpit didn’t work out so well…
Yes I had the Bible and yes I had buckets of passion, but what I realised was I also needed to learn the tried and tested techniques of communicating God’s Word.
I even enrolled in preaching coaching.
All of this definitely made a huge difference, not just in how I come up with preaching ideas or put my sermon outline together, but actually how I delivered the message as well.
But of course self-development and study takes time – something very few church leaders have too much of.
Which is exactly why I want to share with you one simple and easy way you can start to improve the quality of your preaching.
The good news?
This is something you can do almost anywhere and anytime.
So what’s the 1 thing you can do today to improve?
Are you ready?
It’s listening to great preachers.
One of the best ways to improve your preaching is by listening to best and learning from them.
It used to be you had to drive around, forking out money for conferences and flying out to different churches but not anymore.
The internet has changed everything and now you can have a front row seat of any church anywhere in the world without ever having to leave the house. Your phone or tablet gives you unlimited access to preachers around the world.
I remember when I first discovered podcasts, it totally revolutionised my preaching. I found as many preachers as I could and listened to as many sermons as I could.
In the first day I probably listened to 20 sermons, in the first week about 100.
The more I listened, the more I learned.
Where possible, I got out a notebook and jotted down how they started and ended their sermons. I saw how they told stories and used illustrations. I looked at what made their speaking so compelling and how they bought the scripture verse to life.
It was a great learning experience and I probably got more out of it than a typical Bible school homiletics class..
7 tips on getting the most out of your listening
1. Get on YouTube
Preaching is more than just the words you say or how you say it, so where possible you want to watch them too.
Good preachers know how to use their whole body, not all churches post their sermons on YouTube but subscribe to them if they do.
2. Look at the iTunes Top Charts under the Christianity category
Here you’ll find pastors and preachers who are at the top of this list for a reason: they are all phenomenal communicators of the gospel who draw large audiences.
You may not agree with all of them theologically, but thousands of people download their sermons for a reason – they are world-class speakers.
Which brings me nicely to my next point…
3. Subscribe to preachers from different camps
If you’re charismatic, don’t just listen to charismatics.
Get a healthy perspective of pastors from all different traditions and backgrounds.
You’ll get a better picture of what works, what doesn’t, and how to make your preaching your own instead of copying everyone else in your particular church network.
4. Optimise your free time to listen
Instead of listening to the radio in the car, I listen to preaching. I also listen when I am going for a run or writing.
I understand you’re busy, so find times to fit this habit into your existing schedule.
5. Listen in double time
This is a clever little trick.
Want to listen to more preaching in less time? You can listen at 2x speed. Try it, it works!
You will be surprised how easily your brain adjusts to pick everything up. This makes a 60 minutes message only 30, and a 30 only 15!
I bet some of your church members wish they had this option for your sermons!
6. Don’t worry about listening to all of them
If you subscribe to a lot of podcasts, you will not be able to listen to all of them. That’s Okay. Be selective.
Listen to what intrigues you and pass on others.
Every once in a while I go through my podcasts and clean house because there are a lot I haven’t had time to listen to.
7. Don’t just listen to the most recent stuff
Compare and contrast – a lot of pastors have sermons from the early years of their ministry available. Go back and listen to their old stuff.
Then listen to the new stuff and compare. You’ll see how they’ve grown and developed over the years.
Who Am I Listening to Right Now?
It’s constantly changing but here’s a list of the pastors I’m listening to right now:
- Andy Stanley – North Point Community Church
- Matt Chandler – The Village Church
- Todd Cook – Sagebrush Community Church
- Judah Smith – The City Church
- Leonce Crump II – Renovation Church
- Steven Furtick – Elevation Church
- Craig Groeschel – LifeChurch.tv
- Rick Warren – Saddleback Church
- Don Wilson – Christ’s Church of the Valley
- Perry Noble – NewSpring Church
- Derwin Gray – Transformation Church
Take a 30 day challenge and listen to a sermon a day. Try this and I promise you’ll be glad you did.
A better way to prepare and preach sermons
We preach as a labour of love and yet so many preachers are, well, let’s say less effective than we could be…
I think that’s got to do with not using our time wisely when preparing sermons. Most preachers struggle to come up with sermon outlines easily because they have no system to follow.
Having a proven sermon system means you actually preach better without the need to stress out spending hours and hours struggling with preacher’s block.
If you want to see a dramatic improvement in your preaching and be able to claim your Saturdays back from grueling sermon preparation there’s only ONE program I really recommend. Click here for the step-by-step preaching system I follow.