OOPS! Top 10 Biggest Mistakes Preachers Make

How did your sermon go last week?

Not as good as you hoped?

Better than you expected?

In this post, we’ll go over 10 of the biggest mistakes preachers make so you don’t have to.

I recently came across a short video on YouTube of a guy preaching entitled “Worst preaching ever”.

Here it is so you can decide for yourself:

Now, can you just imagine if one day you came across “the worst preaching ever” and it turned out to be one of your sermons?!

How would you react? What would you think?

The good news is there are things you can do to avoid being like this guy.

You can:

In the meantime, here are the 10 biggest mistakes preachers make.

Hopefully putting a name to these can help us to avoid these common pitfalls and help you improve your preaching.

The Top 10 Biggest Mistakes Preachers Make

Mistake #1. Cramming

One of the most common mistakes preachers make is trying to cram an excessive amount of information into a limited sermon time.

While a vast knowledge of scripture is admirable, overwhelming your congregation with an avalanche of content can hinder their ability to absorb and engage with the message.

Remember, it’s not about impressing with sheer volume but about finding the right balance between depth and conciseness.

37 minutes seems to be about the right length of time for a sermon.

Going over that can put you at risk of boring preaching.

If your chosen text really has 6 points then instead of trying to run through them all in one week, you could turn it into a sermon series and spread it over 6 weeks.

Mistake #2. Skimming

This one kind of follows on from cramming…

Rushing through verses without delving into their significance can lead to surface-level preaching.

Instead of skimming over multiple scriptures, focus on exploring a few key passages deeply.

Take the time to unravel the layers of meaning and show how they relate to real-life situations.

This approach allows your congregation to connect more intimately with the Word and find personal applications for their lives.

Mistake #3. Coasting

Whether you’re a beginner preacher preaching your first sermon or a more experienced preacher, never fall into the trap of not preparing enough beforehand.

This may be an obvious one to some but with time restraints and daily distractions, you could be standing in the front of the people just making stuff up as you go along before you know it.

This is one surefire way to preach boring sermons.

The better you prepare, the better you preach.

You want to learn how to write sermons well so that when it comes time to stand before your congregation, you can speak from a place of understanding and spiritual depth.

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Mistake #4. Proof-Texting

Quoting numerous scriptures can enhance your sermon, but be cautious of proof-texting i.e. using verses out of context to support a point.

Instead, immerse yourself in the context of each passage, understanding its historical and literary setting.

Contextual accuracy ensures that you present the Word with integrity and relevance and can preach with confidence knowing you’re preaching on a solid foundation.

Mistake #5. Overquoting

While quotes from theologians and other preachers can add depth and insight, avoid over-quoting to the point of diminishing your own unique voice.

Quotes, stories and illustrations can help all to underline the point you’re trying to make but you want to strike a balance between external sources and personal reflection.

The last thing you want to do is detract or take away from your main message in any way.

Mistake #6. Lecturing

It’s difficult to define the difference between preaching and lecturing, but you know it when you see it and hear it.

It’s something to do with people sensing they’re being talked down to…

It’s about passion, eye contact, persuasion, urgency, etc.

Preaching is not a one-sided lecture; it’s an opportunity to connect with your congregation and grow together on a personal and emotional level.

Mistake #7. Assuming

You may have heard this parable of Jesus a hundred times so simply assume everyone else has too.

This is definitely one of the most common preaching mistakes.

As a preacher, you may have an in-depth understanding of biblical stories and jargon, but never assume the same level of familiarity in your congregation.

Always provide context and background information to ensure everyone feels included and engaged throughout your sermon.

This will help keep everyone in the room with you.

Mistake #8. Confusing

Confusing sermons often result from a lack of structure or an overly complicated organization of points.

Be intentional in crafting a coherent framework that guides your congregation seamlessly through your message.

Highlight your main points, use clear transitions, and help your listeners understand the progression of ideas.

A well-structured sermon leaves a lasting impact and ensures your message is memorable and meaningful.

Mistake #9. Scattering

Preaching should be like a laser light, not a scattered bulb.

Identify the central idea you want to communicate and let it guide every aspect of your sermon.

One of the best ways to preach better sermons is to spend a bit of time in your prep time to really think about and get clarity on the ONE big idea you want them to grasp.

Mistake #10. Complicating

Have you ever walked away from a sermon more confused than when you arrived?

Yeah, me too.

As preachers, we need to bring the Bible to life and highlight how we can apply it in our everyday lives…

We don’t want to make the mistake of being so aloft and abstract that we lose everyone somewhere in the clouds.

Take Your Preaching To The Next Level

Avoid making these top 10 preaching mistakes and you’re already well on your way to becoming a better preacher.

And following step-by-step preaching training is the single best way to improve your preaching.

So if you want to learn a solid sermon system and claim your Saturdays back from gruelling sermon prep then check out these top preaching courses

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What Preaching Mistakes Have You Made?

If you could go back and speak to yourself right before your first-ever sermon, what would you say?

What’s the biggest blunder you’ve ever made while preaching?

Scroll down and share your stories with us! πŸ€—

2 thoughts on “OOPS! Top 10 Biggest Mistakes Preachers Make”

  1. I have to say that the top 3 mistakes have nothing to do with delivery, or with research or preparation. They have to do with the heart. #1) not praying for God’s guidance before, during, or after preparing the message. If one does not listen to God, how will they know what He wants others to hear? Ministers and teachers are mouthpieces for Christ and the Holy Spirit, not their own ideas or popular trends. We will not influence culture by reacting to it; but rather by reaching beyond it to the eternal, unshakeable Word and Spirit of Yahweh, and using that to confront, comfort, correct, and encourage the culture, whatever state it is in. (Heb. 13:17; II Peter 1:19-21, & ch. 4, esp. 5, 11, & 19)
    #2) Delivering a message with unrepented or un-amended sin. If God’s word, or the Holy Spirit via the minister’s conscience, is clear on a specific thought, behavior, or habit that has not at least begun to be dealt with, God most often cannot work through that person. As Paul put it, our consciences must be clear before the throne of heaven, otherwise we will bring shame, not glory, to the Holy Name. (Acts 24:16; I Cor. 4:4; I Tim. 3:1-10; Heb. 13:18; I Peter 3:13-17&21, esp. 16-17; Titus 2:7-8).
    #3) Not cultivating a passion for God’s Word, both in the general sense of the Bible and the specific message to be delivered. All the techniques available to a minister are useless and ineffective without the inner conviction that what is to be said ought and even must be said (Acts 4:19-20, + 5:29&32). The lion’s share of effectiveness in ministering from God’s Word comes not from practice and polish, but from a heartfelt desire to share God’s message and stout conviction to learn, understand, declare, and defend truth.
    James 3:1 .
    “Some people think that intellect is the most important trait in science. They are wrong. It is character.”
    -Albert Einstein

    Reply
    • Very well said Hunting. I think it comes down character as you say, which means focusing on the secret life, working on the roots instead of the fruit. If a preacher is in love with the Bible, walks closely with God and lives that out in his life, this will be evident to all.

      I think people know if the preacher is ‘faking it’; a congregation can easily sense if the preacher doesn’t own the revelation and are not excited by it. First a foremost, a preacher must have a passion for God’s life-changing Word. I read a great quote recently which has stuck with me:

      “The Church will rarely get on fire if the pulpit is not burning brightly.”

      Reply

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