We have no shortage of preaching formulas on our bookshelves and pervading the blogosphere. And here I am, adding my own two cents worth to the subject. It’s the AMEN affect! These four items should be (must be) in place as you prepare and preach the Word!
Author’s original meaning. You’ve heard the advice that the first question a Bible study leader asks is not, “What does it mean to you/me?” They ask, “What does it mean?” Presently, I’m preaching through the Minor Prophets. This requires significant study as to the background of the book, historical location and significance, and why God chose to speak through that person, to that people, in that time? While the Bible is for us, it wasn’t written originally to us, but to those in that context.
Main Idea. What’s the main idea, the one thing that your audience should keep with them as they walk away? Pastors risk making sermons about multiple things–especially if you usually have 3-4 points. You could have a sermon about 3-4 different topics. Work to give a main idea that’s meaningful and memorable.
Examining Christ’s presence. While Christ may not be prominent in each passage, we know that Christ is there in every passage (see Luke 24:25-27). Spurgeon wrote that as all roads in England lead to London, so do all roads in the Bible lead to Christ. Are you taking those roads (even in the Minor Prophets) to Christ?
Next Steps. Preaching is for life-change. How does the preacher apply the authorial intent, the main idea, and Christ’s presence to the 2014 life of where we are? What next steps are you asking your people from the text to take in their walk and journey with Christ?
I look forward to fleshing this out at some later date.
Matthew Perry (DMin, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), serves as Lead Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church in Centennial, CO in the South Denver Metro region.