The Key Ingredient in any Sermon

I love preaching.

There. I said it. Somehow, because of the way God has me wired, I absolutely love getting in front of people and unfolding the Scriptures with them in a way that (I hope and pray) leads to life transformation.

Photo by Banalities (Creative Commons)Photo by Banalities (Creative Commons)Believe it or not, I also love the whole process leading up to preaching the sermon. I love studying the text. I love reading the commentaries. I love looking for and brainstorming stories and illustrations. I love pulling all the ideas together. I love outlining the sermon. I even love practicing the sermon.

But just because I love preaching doesn't mean I'm a great preacher. I'm not bad (at least, I hope not), but I've got a lot of growing to do. That's why I love to take advantage of any opportunity to grow in my preaching ability.

The Key Ingredient

A couple of weeks ago I attended a one-day workshop called Preach Better Sermons, presented by Preaching Rocket. I wasn't sure what to expect. It sounded like I'd get some good info out of it--and guess what. I did!

So I thought I'd use a few blog posts to share some of what I learned. (By the way, I'm not getting paid for promoting this. Just passing on something valuable I learned.)

The first thing I learned is this: The key ingredient in any sermon is something called "connectivity." Let me fill that out a bit.

  1.  Connectivity is the art of connecting your message to your congregation by capturing their attention in order to engage their hands and hearts. In other words, in order to preach an effective sermon, you need to shrink the gap between you and your audience. I feel this pressure every week. I'm the pastor, the expert. And what do I know about the average person's life? How could I possibly have anything to say that the average person ought to hear? It's so important to strive to help people know that you get them. That you know where they're coming from. That you know what questions they're asking.  And that you don't talk over their heads.
  2. Connection, not information, is the difference between a message that falls flat and a message that soars. As I heard this, I thought, "That's exactly right." Over and over again, I have found that I can have all kinds of good information in a sermon, but if I don't establish a connection with my people, they won't bother to remember anything I've said, much less put any of it into practice.

You Gotta Connect

Connection, connecting, connectivity. Whatever you call it, a preacher (any speaker, actually) needs to connect with the people to whom he or she is speaking. How do you connect? Well, they talked about a few ways to connect with your people, and I'll share those next time.

If you're a preacher, how do you do at connecting with your people while preaching? If you're not a preacher, how does your pastor do at connecting with you?

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