23 Preaching Tips That’ll Actually Help You Preach Better

Run a Google search for “preaching tips” and brace yourself for a barrage of well-intentioned advice and bold claims, each promising a path to powerful preaching.

But let’s keep it real:

There’s no single formula, trick or tip for sermon preparation and delivery that’ll instantly transform you into a great preacher overnight.

In this post, I’m not offering a quick fix, but rather a collection of tried-and-true preaching tips that, when applied long enough, will drastically improve your sermons.

I’ve preached on four continents, devoted 20 years to developing my preaching skills, and listened to over 10,000 sermons. This isn’t just another list of generic preaching tips; it’s an actionable strategy you can follow.

23 Proven Preaching Tips For Beginners

1. Start Strong
2. End Even Stronger
3. Get Proper Preaching Training
4. Be True The Text
5. Be True To Yourself
6. Know Your Audience
7. Preach Data-Driven Topics
8. Create A Preaching Calendar
9. Run Sermon Series
10. Set Aside Specific Prep Time
11. Build A Preaching Team
12. Use AI To Write Your Outlines
13. Have One Clear Message
14. Hammer Your Point Home
15. Always Offer Life Application
16. Craft A Bottom Line
17. Listen To Great Preaching
18. Read Preaching Books
19. Practice What You Preach
20. Pray Yourself Full
21. Watch Yourself Back
22. Invite Feedback
23. Put In The Reps

1. Start Strong

Mastering the first 90 seconds of your sermon is non-negotiable.

Lose your audience at the beginning, and the battle for their attention is lost for the entire sermon before you’ve even begun.

You have to step up to the pulpit with confidence.

Your mission: to seize everyone’s attention immediately.

There’s no time for pleasantries—your congregation needs to sense the gravity of your words right from the start. It’s not about a polished delivery; it’s about forging a raw and authentic connection.

So skip the preamble, get straight to the point and watch everyone in the room hang on your every word, ready for the transformative journey unfolding before them.

Here are 6 compelling strategies to kick off your sermon.

2. End Even Stronger

Getting your sermon conclusion down is just as crucial, if not more so, than nailing the start.

Avoid the common preaching mistake of letting your sermon fizzle out and intentionally plan your conclusion for maximum impact.

Preaching is like flying a plane: you’ve got to get the takeoff right, know where you’re taking people to and exactly how you’re going to land.

Here are 7 ways to end your next sermon on a high note.

3. Get Proper Preaching Training

The best preaching tip I can give you, especially if you’re just starting out, is this:

You need a rock-solid system for sermon preparation and delivery.

Looking back on my early days of preaching, I was all over the place…

One week, I’d barely plan at all and try to wing it on the day. Another week, I’d sit paraphrasing someone else’s preaching on YouTube until late Saturday night.

Sometimes I’d write out every word and other times I’d try to preach without notes.

It was a stressful and chaotic mess.

What was missing?

A structured guide on preparing sermon outlines, step by step, from start to finish. I never had anyone show me the ropes.

Enter Killer Sermons Academy – a real game-changer for me. Seriously, it will completely revolutionise your entire preaching approach.

You can get all the deets in my SUPER in-depth Killer Sermons Academy review here.

4. Be True The Text

There are 2 types of preachers:

  • Topical
  • Expository

Topical preaching is when you preach on themes or topics and draw from various parts of the Bible to support your central idea.

Expository preaching is when you preach on a portion of scripture and allow the chosen text to determine the sermon’s content and message.

Your goal should be to become an expository preacher.

Why?

Because rather than trying to make the text fit your message; you let the text shape and define your message.

Instead of cherry-picking verses to back up what you want to say, you let God’s Word speak for itself which results in more authoritative, richer messages.

Here’s Ministry Pass on why expository preaching is the better way:

5. Be True To Yourself

Without a preaching system and desperate for inspiration, it’s easy to look at preachers like Steven Furtick on YouTube with 100,000+ views on each of his sermons and 2.8 million subscribers and think you have to mirror his style and content.

However tempting this trap may be, it’s a problem because you never find your voice.

You want to take inspiration from everyone but copy no one.

Your God-given uniqueness will resonate with some and not with others, and that’s perfectly okay. Be true to yourself, and let your distinct personality and voice shine through.

6. Know Your Audience

One of the most powerful tips for delivering quality sermons week after week is understanding your audience.

As a pastor or church leader, you’re likely already intimately acquainted with the battles, challenges, aspirations goals, needs and wants of your congregation so tailor your messages directly to them.

A preacher in a rural church in Wisconsin will approach preaching differently than an urban church in central New York.

Similarly, a preacher in a church full of young families will cover different sermon topics in a distinct style compared to a preacher addressing a more traditional congregation with an older demographic.

Keep your audience in the front of your mind as you plan and present your sermons and you’ll find you’ll forge deeper connections and resonate more with their unique life experiences to make your preaching more powerful.

7. Preach Data-Driven Topics

You can preach better sermons by tapping into the power of data.

This could be as simple and straightforward as giving your church a survey to find out what pressing questions, challenges and areas of interest they have.

Ask them what topics they’d like you to preach more about.

Use online tools like Google Trends and AnswerThePublic to discover hot topics.

You can use a keyword research tool like Mangools to see what phrases and questions people are searching online.

For example, the question “Once saved always saved?” gets searched a whopping 6,500 times a month on average:

This would be a great topic to talk about.

And don’t shy away from preaching on the issues of the day that society is grappling with. If people can’t get compelling answers to today’s big questions in church then they’ll go looking elsewhere.

Pastor Mark Driscoll recently ran a brilliantly titled series called “Black & White In A Rainbow World” where he addressed issues of homosexuality, gender and the whole woke agenda head-on. It’s had 20,000+ views.

Preaching data-driven topics not only ensures your sermons are relevant and interesting but also ensures your messages meet the genuine needs of your congregation.

8. Create A Preaching Calendar

As a preacher, you have just 45 minutes a week to speak into the lives of your members.

No pressure, but that means you have to come up with fresh sermons week after week after week that make an impact.

You’ll burn out if you don’t plan ahead. Take it from someone who’s been there.

Now I like to spend a bit of time around the new year asking God what He wants to say to His church and scheduling out my sermons for the 12 months ahead.

Here’s a preaching calendar you can use.

The beauty of planning ahead is twofold:

It means you can get ahead which gives you time and breathing space and makes sermon prep way less stressful.

It also allows you to get more creative. Without the pressure of last-minute sermon prep, you’ll find the freedom to explore more innovative ways to get your message across.

9. Run Sermon Series

This preaching tip completely revolutionised the way I preach.

Instead of delivering standalone messages each week, consider organising your preaching into a 3-6 week sermon series.

This a great way to organise your preaching and it helps make your church service more of an event and keeps people coming back for more.

(A great church growth strategy by the way.)

Here are 12 sermon monthly series ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

10. Set Aside Specific Prep Time

The better you prepare, the better you preach.

On average, a preacher spends 13 to 15 hours preparing a sermon. And that’s on top of juggling countless other jobs that need to get done in the week.

You need to set solid chunks of time aside to prepare your sermon and make sure your staff is on the same page – these periods are non-negotiable.

For your focused sessions find a quiet space with minimal interruptions and distractions.

By blocking out time like this at the beginning of the week and following a consistent schedule, you can free your mind to focus on other vital ministry tasks.

11. Build A Preaching Team

I don’t know where we got the idea from where we have to sit struggling to write sermons alone.

Some of the best preachers of our time (I’m thinking the likes of Craig Groeshel and Andy Stanley) have a preaching team who help them come up with creative angles, story and illustration ideas.

Start with 2-3 guys in your church you trust and get together maybe once a month to discuss upcoming sermons.

By preparing sermons as a team, your preaching will become richer, deeper and more varied because you no longer have to rely on your experiences.

As the old saying goes: two (or more) brains are better than one.

12. Use AI To Write Your Outlines

If you’re not leveraging the power of AI to write your sermons yet then you need to.

Right now we have amazing tools like ChatGPT at our disposal that can make our sermon prep easier and our preaching better.

You can ask it to polish up your intro, craft a more compelling conclusion, help explain how concept A relates to concept B and so on. The possibilities are endless!

Start with this free AI guide for preachers.

13. Have One Clear Message

If you want to become a great preacher then avoid cramming a gazillion points into a single sermon because that’ll only have your church members overwhelmed, confused and remembering nothing.

It’s far better to have one clear central message you want to convey and keep it simple.

14. Hammer Your Point Home

Armed with a crystal-clear message, it’s time to really drive it home:

Share real-life experiences that resonate with your congregation on a personal level.

Tell compelling stories that tug at the heartstrings to spark emotional connections that linger well beyond the sermon.

Reinforce your message with unforgettable sermon illustrations that serve as vivid visual demonstrations of what you’re saying.

Do whatever you can to get your message across.

15. Always Offer Life Application

The purpose of real preaching is to trigger life change. And that’s only going to happen if you give people practical ways to apply the message in their everyday lives.

And these don’t have to be drastic changes. It could be as simple as challenging your congregation to practice gratitude for the next 7 days or try a new approach to a common problem.

Even a slight mindset or attitude shift can make a big difference.

Your listeners want preaching that causes them to grow so give a compelling call to action when you preach and watch as lives are transformed.

16. Craft A Bottom Line

This next preaching tip takes a bit of work but it’s worth doing in my view.

A sermon bottom line is a short and memorable statement that sums up your entire message.

Pastor Andy Stanley of Northpoint Community Church gives a bottom line or “key takeaway” every time he preaches without fail.

By taking the time to write a solid bottom line like “Fixing your mind on Christ fixes your mind.” or “You don’t go to church, you ARE the church.”, you ensure your message lingers in people’s minds long after the sermon is over.

17. Listen To Great Preaching

Listening to great sermons is one of the best ways to improve your preaching.

And don’t just listen:

Actually sit down with a notepad and jot down how they:

  • Introduce topics
  • Structure outlines
  • Tell stories
  • Give calls to action
  • Build tension and hold your attention

Why not set yourself a challenge of listening to a sermon a day for the next 30 days?

You’ll be glad you did! 

18. Read Preaching Books

I wish I read more books earlier in my preaching journey…

Books like Become A Preaching Ninja and Communicating For A Change.

Preachers should always be students of their craft and one of the best ways to learn is from those who have gone before you.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The same difficulties and struggles you face with preaching today are the same issues faced by others.

I’ve gleaned so much over the years from “preaching mentors” I’ve never met in person but learned from through their books.

Here’s a full list of the best books about preaching.

19. Practice What You Preach

This preaching tip isn’t about making sure your words and actions match (though that’s super important!) but rather, it’s about actually practising your preaching before you step up to the stage.

Once you’ve got your sermon outline done, imagine you’re preaching for real and rehearse it out loud.

That way you can hear the parts that don’t quite flow, see the sections that need tweaking and get more comfortable with what you’re going to say.

20. Pray Yourself Full

Pray yourself full before heading up to the pulpit for 2 reasons:

Firstly, as a conduit for the Holy Spirit, you want to be open to what He has to say.

Secondly, you want to be fired up and burning on all spiritual cylinders because powerful preachers preach with passion.

Actually, you want your whole sermon prep process to be drenched in prayer so you get God’s heart for His people and it shines through when you’re sharing His Word.

21. Watch Yourself Back

Recording yourself preaching and watching it back is a solid way to review your delivery skills.

It might feel a little uncomfortable at first, but stick with it. Look at your body language, tone of voice, pacing and eye contact and make notes on what you got right and what you could improve next time around.

22. Invite Feedback

All preachers have blindspots. Even you… and yes, even me.

And unless we’re intentional about it, the only feedback we’ll get is the friendly “I really enjoyed your message today!” comments from people on their way out the door.

That’s not going to cut it if you’re serious about constantly getting better.

Find people you can ask to objectively evaluate your sermons for you. It could be someone in your leadership team or a church member you trust.

Download this free sermon evaluation form and ask them to fill it out.

It might be hard to hear constructive criticism at first but keep an open heart and you’ll ultimately, preach better sermons; a win for you and your church.

23. Put In The Reps

If you want to build muscle, you need to hit the gym and put in the reps.

Preaching is no different. No matter how many preaching courses you take or how many preaching tips you read, nothing can beat practice and experience.

So commit to focusing on the one thing you can improve on your next sermon and these small changes will surely add up over time.

And I guarantee your 100th sermon will be significantly better than your first.

Preaching Tips: Bottom Line

Becoming the best preacher you can be won’t happen overnight, but I hope these preaching tips will help unlock your preaching potential and accelerate your growth.

I know we’ve covered a lot of ground here so if you want to start improving your preaching skills right now, choose just 1 or 2 of these tips to try right now.

Or you can go one step further with this free 21-Day Guide To Creating Killer Sermons that gives you a practical 3-week roadmap to writing better sermons in less time.

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