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Changing How You Preach

Pastor preparing a sermon
If there is one thing I constantly change, it's my preaching. The changes are small, and maybe to the listeners, unnoticed. But to me they're important.

For instance, over the years I have reduced the length of my sermons by about 10 minutes. What used to last 45 minutes is now 35.

I reduced the time because of my congregation. I noticed that their ability to focus dropped dramatically after the 30-minute mark. I have since learned that what you can say in 45 minutes, you can say in 35 minutes or less.

Recently, an article by David Prince changed my preaching. The article is A Simple Guide to Reading the Bible with Jesus as the Hero. His ideas have dramatically changed how I preach Old Testament based sermons.

Now I am working on how to layer the gospel within the body of the message. Rather than tacking it on the end, I want the person and work of Jesus to be evident throughout. A resource that has helped me with this is Preaching the Truth as it is in Jesus: A Reader on Andrew Fuller.

All of the above is a work in progress. Who knows if I will ever arrive, but I will keep on preaching.


It was great to hear from several pastors about their preaching and how it has changed over the years. Here are the responses.

I would say, less information, presented several ways with a specific request and opportunity to make an application. "As we close today, choose to be a doer of God's Word. Tell God one thing you are going to do differently because of what you heard." Hearing without doing leads to deception. Pastor George Carr, Disciple Maker and Evangelist

Thinking about how my preaching has changed...over the years - my prep time includes much more thought on how to present truth in a way that quickly connects text to application for those who are not typically reading their Bible. Research on illustrations & application has always been essential but even more so when less percentage of audiences are avid Bible readers. Pastor Joe Ready, Liberty Church in Westminster, Maryland

As far as the homiletics, I work hard on saying more by speaking less and trust God to make the application to each heart and soul. This has helped me in not beating myself up so much on Sunday afternoon as I regretted saying certain things and not saying things that I planned on saying. 
In my hermeneutics I always try to connect every message to the gospel, and I have worked hard at presenting the gospel more clearly.  Pastor Quint Merson, Cross Life Bible Church in Westminster, Maryland

I've stopped trying to teach over every detail or extract every possible spiritual truth from the text (especially if preaching from more than just 2 or 3 verses).  I reserve that for follow-up mid-week Bible studies going over the same text.  For the sermons, I focus more on finding the main point of the text and try to give the listeners something relevant from the main point that they can take home and practically apply.  And knowing that there are always several unsaved listeners in the congregation, I try to always include some aspect of the Gospel which isn't hard because the Gospel is found throughout the Bible. Jake Delich, Biblical Ministries Worldwide Missionary serving in Puerto Rico

I don't get to preach much, but I know my preaching has definitely changed at the hand of my mental, emotional, and spiritual maturity. I've gone through so much, and life continues to throw curve balls at me. Leaning into the Lord through it all has grown me in incredible ways. Romans 5:3-5......I've gotten to live this out! Also, I've become more confident and comfortable with every opportunity to preach. Chris Sturdivant, Carroll County Area Director of Fellowship of Christian Athletes

I was taught at Washington Bible College and Capital Bible Seminary to do expository preaching. For years that is what I did, or biography series. Even now I am preaching through John. But I am more focused on my audience. What do they need to grow, to be encouraged, to be active, how will this lesson get them through this week. I believe that felt needs are more important than I used to think. To these senior adults a series on heaven, assurance of salvation, finishing well, trusting God, God's presence, Gods faithfulness is important. Pastor Gary Buchman, First Baptist Church of Hanover, PA

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