Want to know the secret to great preaching?
Here’s the undeniable truth:
Great preachers aren’t simply born – they’ve developed certain qualities that make them great.
Behind every powerful sermon stands a preacher who’s mastered the art of connection. They don’t just speak the Word of God; they bring it to life.
These individuals aren’t mere speakers; they’re curators of compelling narratives and champions of crystal-clear communication.
From meticulously planned messages to fearless delivery, they leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of their congregation.
So, if you’re ready to become the best preacher you can be, let’s dive into the 12 essential traits and qualities that set extraordinary preachers apart.
1. Cultivate Your Skillset
The standout trait of all great preachers is their relentless commitment to improve.
They understand that to truly excel, you must be a lifelong learner and student.
This is Paul’s exact advice to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:13-15:
“Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them so that everyone may see your progress.“
Great preachers invest in themselves by:
- Take courses on preaching
- Read books about preaching
- Follow blogs about preaching
- Listen to great preaching
Killer Sermons Academy is the single best online preaching training I’ve ever come across because it’ll give you a proven step-by-step system for preparing and delivering powerful messages every time.
Read my SUPER in-depth Killer Sermons Academy review for a full breakdown.
2. Plan Ahead Of Time
Effective preachers understand the power of foresight and know that the better you prepare, the better you preach.
They go beyond just planning sermons in advance…
They create a preaching calendar that outlines sermon topics and scriptures for the entire year.
They take time to consider the specific needs and challenges of their congregation and ask God what He wants to say to His church in the months ahead.
3. Write Sermons In A Team
Another trait of effective preachers is they don’t feel the need to go it alone.
Instead, they understand the power of collaboration and prepare sermons with a team.
Your preaching team can help you:
- Craft attention-grabbing intros
- Generate creative sermon illustrations
- Unearth powerful stories
- Find ways to end with a bang
When preachers come together, ideas and creativity flow, the dreaded preacher’s block is banished for good and your messages become deeper and richer.
Moreover, crafting sermons as a team serves as a protective shield against any potential missteps and keeps your sermons on point.
Working as a team means spreading out the workload; while you always have the final say, a team effort lightens the pressure of having to come up with fresh and engaging content every single Sunday.
Remember what Proverbs 15:22 says:
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.”
4. Preach 1-Point Sermons
Why preach one point?
Because it’s way easier to remember.
The Lewis Center For Church Leadership puts it this way:
“Since listeners only need to keep track of one thing, they can really absorb your message.
There is nothing more frustrating than when a preacher touches on many key ideas or points but can’t develop any of them because there are too many points and not enough time.”
Make it your mission to choose one core message per week and really drive it home.
How do you do it?
It’s easier than you think. Take your 3-point sermon outline, for example, and split it up into a 3-week sermon series.
This way you can delve deep and underline each point and your congregation has the opportunity to truly grasp and internalise the truth you’re trying to convey.
Here are 12 sermon series ideas to help you get the ball rolling.
5. Know The Bible
You know what truly sets apart exceptional preachers?
Their deep, intimate connection with the Bible.
They dive into the scriptures, soaking up wisdom and drawing out insights that bring the Word of God to life with remarkable depth and clarity.
And when it comes to doing daily devotions, keeping it super simple is the golden rule.
For those looking to take it a step further, consider memorizing these top 100 Bible verses.
In essence, knowing the Bible isn’t just a skill – it’s the bedrock of effective preaching, empowering the preacher to convey God’s message with authority.
6. Preach The Bible
Now, this may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised…
90% of preachers preach topical sermons.
This means they select a topic they want to talk about and then cherry-pick verses to back up what they want to say.
But, if you want to be in the top 10% of preachers, you have to preach expository sermons where you let the scripture text guide the way.
Trust me, the difference is huge.
To kick things off, pick a passage that hits home with your congregation’s needs. Then, dig into the historical backdrop, explore the original language and check out relevant cross-references.
By really getting into the nitty-gritty and making the points of scripture the points of your preaching, you’ll be all set to deliver messages that truly transform lives.
7. Communicate Clearly
In the realm of preaching, clarity reigns supreme. It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it.
Many congregants value preachers who can communicate their message clearly and effectively. They appreciate sermons that are easy to follow and understand.
Here are a few tips to enhance your communication:
- Simplify language: Avoid using overly complex language or theological jargon that might confuse your audience. Remember, the goal is to convey the message in a way that resonates with everyone.
- Structure your sermon: Organise your sermon in a logical sequence. Start with a compelling introduction, followed by your main point and end on a high.
- Use illustrations: Stories, metaphors and real-life examples illuminate what you’re saying and make it relatable. This is why Jesus used them all the time.
- Engage with eye contact: Maintain eye contact with listeners to foster a sense of connection and gauge their level of engagement.
Remember, clear communication isn’t just about the words you speak, but also about how you deliver them, so practice articulation, varying your tone of voice and pacing to ensure every word lands with impact.
For further insights on this topic, check out Andy Stanley’s book, “Communicating For A Change” which provides invaluable wisdom on honing your communication skills.
8. Speak Confidently
Now let’s talk about the one quality every great preacher needs:
Here’s how to own that pulpit with confidence:
Understand that the message is more important than you are. There’s no better way to overcome the fear of preaching than this.
Then trust in God’s Word to do God’s work in the lives of God’s people.
9. Live Authentically
People like to listen to preachers who come across as genuine and sincere. They value authenticity in both the preacher’s words and actions.
Don’t fall for the trap of thinking people expect perfection.
In fact, I’d say actually opening up about your challenges and shortcomings is what makes your message relatable and impactful. People appreciate knowing you’re human too, just like those you’re speaking to.
So, keep it real and let your preaching be an extension of your true self. Don’t try to mimic others. Your style, your voice, that’s what sets your message apart.
Be as authentic as you can and you’ll touch hearts in ways you never imagined.
10. Embody Grace & Truth
Exceptional preachers not only understand the challenges and struggles we all face, but they navigate these realities with a unique blend of both grace and truth.
And getting this balance right is paramount:
Err too far on the compassion side and you’ll end up an unhinged social justice warrior…
Err too far on the truth side and you’ll turn into a judgemental pharisee…
Neither extreme is good!
So, extend a hand of compassion, acknowledging the complexities of the human experience whilst at the same time, preaching the life-giving truth that sets people free.
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.“
11. Preach Sticky
Great preachers deliver messages that linger long after the final amen.
A bottom line that’s not easily forgotten.
Crafting a compelling sermon bottom line is the secret ingredient to making your message stick. It’s the takeaway that lingers in your congregation’s minds in the weeks and months ahead.
Here are some examples to inspire you:
- We don’t go to church, we are the Church
- Fixing your mind on Christ fixes your mind
- God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called
So yeah, take the time to carefully craft a single one-liner line that encapsulates your core message and leaves a lasting impression on your congregation.
12. Compel Action
The purpose of any preacher and the goal of any sermon is to have your hearers not be hearers of the Word only, but actual doers.
Which is why a sermon isn’t a sermon at all without practical life application.
And people don’t just want nice messages:
They yearn for preaching that challenges them and spurs them to action. They crave hands-on, down-to-earth advice on how to embody God’s truths in their everyday lives.
So give a strong call to action every time you preach and make it unmistakably clear what the required response to your message is.
What Qualities Do You Look For In A Preacher?
Who are the preachers you love to listen to and why?
What kind of preacher do you want to be and what’s the one key takeaway you’ve got from this post?
Tell us in the comments! 🙏
And while you’re here, check out our most popular preaching articles:
- What To Preach About For The First Time: 21 Topic Ideas
- How To Preach Better Sermons: Step-By-Step
- Best Advice I Can Give You If You’re Preaching For The First Time
- 17 Ways To (Dramatically) Improve Your Preaching
- How Long Should A Sermon Be? A Data-Driven Guide
Your preaching isn’t just words; it has the power to change lives forever.
So press on, unwavering in your commitment, because through your faithfulness you’ll stand amazed at what God does through you! 🙌