Off Topic: Good and Bad Preaching

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Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Aug 22 2011 8:32 AM

The following questions are addressed specifically to the lay members of the forums.  This was the specific request made within the group from which it came.

I have just received a dare from a group of pastors to which I belong to ask a couple of simple questions: What is one characteristic of good preaching? And, what is one characteristic of bad preaching?

Just to be honest, I do plan on sharing answers with the group without giving the sources - but it is my hope that answers will help me and othesr to become better preachers.

Thanks in advance for any answers.

Blessings,
Floyd

Pastor-Patrick.blogspot.com

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Rick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 8:40 AM

Floyd Johnson:
I have just received a dare from a group of pastors to which I belong to ask a couple of simple questions: What is one characteristic of good preaching? And, what is one characteristic of bad preaching?

My opinions Smile

Good Characteristic: Expository preaching. The minister should expand on what he just read. I love it when it is obvious that he done his homework and can explain why he is teaching the way that he is.

Bad Characteristic: I actually have a couple but sticking with just one I would have to say yelling from the pulpit. I can hear you, I promise. Your message is actually less effective to me when you yell because it is very annoying and I then tune you out and start checking my watch.

Posts 378
Clint Cozier | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 8:43 AM

Floyd,

Wow....that's not a Monday morning kind'a question. Good preaching is at its core a reflection upon how a word from God speaks to me and calls me to respond. Inversely, poor or bad preaching is my musings about my world devoid of any real word from God or call to respond to God's word.

Now..back to my Monday morning nap.

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Jerry M | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 9:10 AM

Rick:
yelling from the pulpit.

I had preachers leave the pulpit and had my hair blow back as they came close.

Good preachin....a word from God spoken with His nature proceeding from the spokesman.

Bad preachin...too many points to remember instead of one main point that requires reflection.

"For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power"      Wiki Table of Contents

Posts 170
Bob | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 9:11 AM

I have observed that the best preaching happens when the preacher gets out of the way of the Holy Spirit and lets HIS message flow. When this happens each member of the congregaton feels that the message was tailored just for him/her.  Homework is important, ist is one of the ways we pray  for the Spirit to provide a good message, but surrender is much more important.

 

The worst preaching happens when we bring our own message and prejudice to the pulpit. 

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 9:31 AM

Jerry M:
too many points to remember instead of one main point that requires reflection

Yes

Technically I am a lay person (until I find my next ministry). I won't expound any further, other than to agree with Jerry. Smile

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PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 9:52 AM

Good: Relevant to real life, clear flow and easy to follow the train of thought, speaks to what the scripture is actually saying.

Bad: Academic/theoretical, disorganized/meandering, speaks to preacher's personal opinions or just a string of anecdotal stories.

Disclaimer: I'm an occasional lay preacher myself.

Peter

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 11:02 AM

Not to be too much the contrarian, but I would say good/bad preaching is under the heading 'know your audience'.

In each of the 'bad preaching' examples above, I've been in congregations, where many would be viewed as 'good'.

Yesterday, after the sermon by a visiting missionary, one person thought the sermon was very uplifting (impressed by the shouting, culturally effective in Africa).

In a second conversation, the older folks were saying they couldn't hear it (due to the preacher varying his points).

Some folks want it 'straight from the Bible'. Others don't see the point without a heavy dose of 'daily living' examples.

Some aren't going to be happy without some heavily biased points. For others, it's an immediate turn-off.

Again, I suspect good preaching is relative to listening to the congregation and their needs.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 114
Steve Hultquist | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 11:10 AM
Good: Clarity, especially using everyday language and illustrations from what is really happening "in the world out there." Accuracy in use of scripture and reflecting both the time and the tone as well as the core definitional meanings of the scripture. Bad: Unapplied commentary. If you simply tell me stuff *about* the scripture without helping me understand what changes I can make to improve, you haven't helped me very much. Head knowledge unapplied is virtually worthless. Give ms something to do or to change, please?
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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 11:23 AM

Steve Hultquist:
Head knowledge unapplied is virtually worthless. Give ms something to do or to change, please?

Yes

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nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 11:30 AM

Good:  when preacher is preaching at him/herself, not just a message for the laity in the pews.  When he/she speaks from a position of weakness, with which I can identify,not from 6 feet above contradiction, which switches me off.

Bad (we get it here from one preacher who ought to know better...):  harranguing, long irrelevant lectures on etymology.  Also mumbling!  If acoustics are bad, get someone to stand in the part of the church where it's hardest to hear and make you go on until you can be heard.

If Bible passage doesn't impact me, it won't impact anyone else either.

I think a reaLLY HELPFUL SERMON for me IS ONE THAT opens my heart to hear what God is saying to me, so that at the end I've got my message from God, sparked off by what the preacher said, but now I couldn't for the life of me tell you what the preACHER SAID.

Another helpful sort of sermon is one that opens up whole new dimensions in a Bible passage I thought  I knew and understood.

 

 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 12:00 PM

Floyd Johnson:
What is one characteristic of good preaching? And, what is one characteristic of bad preaching?

Good: a priest who encouraged my reflections (preaching) said that the mark of a good homily was two-fold: first, when someone thanked you for saying something that they consider an answer to a difficult that you don't even know you said and second, when a few weeks later someone comments on something from a sermon they heard recently and they don't remember who preached it.

Bad: when the homily (i.e. breaking open the Word) is replaced by a short glance towards the Word only to be replaced by a plea to support some cause financially.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 12:02 PM

nicky crane:

I think a reaLLY HELPFUL SERMON for me IS ONE THAT opens my heart to hear what God is saying to me, so that at the end I've got my message from God, sparked off by what the preacher said, but now I couldn't for the life of me tell you what the preACHER SAID.

Another helpful sort of sermon is one that opens up whole new dimensions in a Bible passage I thought  I knew and understood.

YesYesYesYesYesCoffee (cup accounts for the other five fingers)

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DominicM | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 12:05 PM

Any preaching that Glorifies Jesus, encourages/challenges us to decide to live on the cutting edge is good preaching, everything else isnt neccesarily "bad" as there are times we need a kick in the pants, and preaching is NOT teaching, but when I hear "preachers" not using scripture, or they dont care for/feed the sheep in their care, then I would be very concerned.

Sadly there may be those in the pulpit who are there beacuse those with the gifting arent doing what God has called them to,  the preacher who might be a gifted teacher or evangelist is encouraged/forced to do it because its expected (small churches especially), and although God honors the preaching of his word, its not the area of his anooninting/skill, and consequently the Chiurch is missing out on the fullness of everything God wants to do..  Within the constraints of your church structure, and with your leaders/elders backing - if you have a gift - dont sit back - use it rather than just giving the minister an  extra encouragement/push :D

 

Never Deprive Anyone of Hope.. It Might Be ALL They Have

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Bill Anderson | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 12:46 PM

A good sermon (particularly one based on the O.T.) preaches Christ in the context of the history of redemption.

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MJD | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 1:52 PM

Good Sermon -  Every application or illustration should point to the "Gospel of Jesus Christ"!   The sermon should always point to Christ, and the LOVE he has for us.  Through our faith in Christ, (no works required in salvation), we are justified and He positionally gives us His Righteousness which we do not deserve.  When we receive the "Gift" of His Righteousness, this is when we have HOPE, and this is what makes a GREAT SERMON! Yes

Bad Sermon -  Politically correct and Seeker Sensitive messages that are watered down and don't accurately interpret the Word of God.  The Gospel of Christ is offensive, because it separates people.  A bad sermon is one that has "universal" ways to salvation.  There is only one correct interpretation of the Bible, but there are many applications.  Interpret rightly... and preach application illustratively but don't stray for away from the TRUTH! No

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Brother Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 2:28 PM

 

Good: "Brethren, we could well manage to be half as intellectual if we were twice as spiritual. Preaching is a spiritual business. A sermon born in the head reaches the head. A sermon born in the heart reaches the heart. A spiritual preacher will under God produce spiritually-minded people. Unction is not a gentle dove beating her wings against the bars outside of the preacher's soul; rather she must be pursued and won. Unction cannot be learned, only earned by prayer. Unction is God's knighthood for the soldier-preacher who has wrestled in prayer and gained the victory. Victory is not won in the pulpit by firing intellectual bullets or wisecracks, but in the prayer closet. The meeting is won or lost before the preacher's foot enters the pulpit. Unction is like perfume. Unction is like dynamite. Unction comes not by the medium of the bishop's hands, neither does it mildew when the preacher is cast into prison. Unction will pierce and percolate. It will sweeten and soften. When the hammer of logic and the fire of human zeal fail to open the stony heart, unction will succeed."

Bad: "The tragedy of this last hour is that we have too many dead men in the pulpits giving out too many dead sermons to too many dead people. There is a strange thing that I have seen even in the fundamentalist circles: it is preaching without unction. What is unction? I hardly know what it is, but I know what it is not, or at least I know when it is not upon my own soul. Preaching without unction kills instead of giving life. The unctionless preacher is a savor of death unto death. The Word does not live unless the unction is upon the preacher. Preacher, with all thy getting, get unction."

 

UNCTION! By Leonard Ravenhill (Standard disclaimer... I don't agree with everything Leonard ever said, or all of his theology, but MAN!  He was spot-on with this)

"I read dead people..."

Posts 386
MJD | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 2:48 PM

Brother Mark:

Good: "Brethren, we could well manage to be half as intellectual if we were twice as spiritual. Preaching is a spiritual business. A sermon born in the head reaches the head. A sermon born in the heart reaches the heart. A spiritual preacher will under God produce spiritually-minded people. Unction is not a gentle dove beating her wings against the bars outside of the preacher's soul; rather she must be pursued and won. Unction cannot be learned, only earned by prayer. Unction is God's knighthood for the soldier-preacher who has wrestled in prayer and gained the victory. Victory is not won in the pulpit by firing intellectual bullets or wisecracks, but in the prayer closet. The meeting is won or lost before the preacher's foot enters the pulpit. Unction is like perfume. Unction is like dynamite. Unction comes not by the medium of the bishop's hands, neither does it mildew when the preacher is cast into prison. Unction will pierce and percolate. It will sweeten and soften. When the hammer of logic and the fire of human zeal fail to open the stony heart, unction will succeed."

Bad: "The tragedy of this last hour is that we have too many dead men in the pulpits giving out too many dead sermons to too many dead people. There is a strange thing that I have seen even in the fundamentalist circles: it is preaching without unction. What is unction? I hardly know what it is, but I know what it is not, or at least I know when it is not upon my own soul. Preaching without unction kills instead of giving life. The unctionless preacher is a savor of death unto death. The Word does not live unless the unction is upon the preacher. Preacher, with all thy getting, get unction."

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Beautiful -- I believe the “unction” you describe is the “Spirit of God” moving in man.  I say right on Brother!  That will preach!!!

 

 

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Armwood | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 3:42 PM

Good: When it comes from and is delivered from the heart. 2 Tim. 4:2.. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 

Bad: When a text is read, the sermon thought is given, and the preacher preaches everything except the text/thought that was given. 1 Cor. 10:23 Confused.

Armwood

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Lynden Williams | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 22 2011 4:36 PM

Thanks for all the pointers.

A preacher.

Lynden Williams Communications https://www.lyndenwilliams.net 

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