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. The video is given the title ‘Worst preaching ever’.
Here it is so you decide for yourself.
How would you react? What would you think?
The good news is that there are things you can do to avoid being like this guy…!
Great online preaching courses like Preaching Rocket can really help shift your sermons to a whole new level.
The helpful Preaching Rocket community makes this the best way to invest in and grow yourself as a preacher.
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…
The Top 10 Biggest Mistakes Preachers Make
If you want your sermon to be terrible then try and cram as much as you can, everything you’ve ever learned into 30 minutes of preaching. Squeezing the Bible like this will impress everyone with how much you know.
This is where quantity takes precedent over quality.
In your preaching try and quote as many verses as possible and just skim over the surface of the text. Teach nothing that someone with average intelligence would not have derived from the text themselves.
Whether you’re young and confident or older and experienced, don’t 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 be standing in the front of the people just making stuff up as you go along before you know it.
Including lots and lots of texts from all over the Bible, and sometimes diverting hearers by expounding the proof texts as much as the sermon text.
If you want to be a terrible preacher then squeeze too many quotes from commentators, theologians, and other preachers from the past and the present.
It’s difficult to define the difference between preaching and lecturing, but you know it when you see it/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.
You may have heard this parable of Jesus a hundred times so simply assume everyone else has too.
Don’t use a reference, jargon or theological phrases without giving a bit of background info first. This will help keep everyone in the room with you.
Hearers are left confused usually because of a lack of structure or too complicated a structure (main points, sub-points, etc.); or sometimes there is a good structure, but it’s not sufficiently highlighted and emphasized so that hearers know where they’ve been, where they are, and where they are going.
Lots and lots of info, but no single big idea; it’s the difference between the an ordinary light bulb and a laser light. Have one point that you’re taking everyone too.
If you’ve got a lot of points to cover you might want to consider making it into a monthly sermon series.
Have you ever walked away from a sermon more confused than when you arrived?
As preachers we should be bring the Bible to life highlighting the simple and relevant application of it. Not being so aloft that we lose everyone somewhere in the clouds.
Learn from the best and take your preaching to the next level
Learning from the experiences of others is the best way to avoid the common mistakes preachers make and way easier.
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Click here for the step-by-step preaching system I follow.
What’s your biggest preaching blunder?
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.
2 thoughts on “OOPS! – Top 10 Biggest Mistakes Preachers Make”
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.”
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.”