Off Topic: Good and Bad Preaching

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Posts 1674
Paul N | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2011 7:48 AM

Rev. Nannette La Fosse:

Hi:

 I am a minister, but was a lay in the past.

Good preaching: Spiritual message with teaching pockets that instruct and inspire the congregation to learn more about the Bible and  to get closer to God.

Bad preaching: Academic vocabulary that the people do not understand, too technical, dry and unrelated  to their daily live problems.

Nannette, I totally agree that this is the way many church members perceive good and bad preaching, however it has always frustrated as an aspiring pastor.  Why is it that we have to almost "trick" listeners into hearing the word of God through smooth speech and catchy phrases instead of inviting them to come sift through the wealth of language they are perfectly capable to pursue.  

I agree that speaking language over everyone's head benefits no one, but in a sermon where essentially we have the ability to reflect and study, shouldn't there be some academic rigor to the language being spoken?

I wish I could appeal to both the student and the non student

Posts 2900
Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2011 7:53 AM

Thanks for this thread.  Interesting.

I don't know exactly what makes good preaching, but I know it when I hear it.  It takes many forms and styles.  I know bad preaching when I hear it, too.

Some good preaching:  I could name some names.   Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Piper, Maxie Dunnam, Billy Graham, Bill Bouknight, David Seamonds, N. T. Wright, David Wilkerson, John Ed Mathison, Jimmy Buskirk, Adrian Rogers, Charles Spurgeon...  Of course, good preaching is not imitating some other good preacher, but it helps so hear some examples.  A preacher must be authentic.

Some bad preaching:   When Scripture, Sermon, and Real Life remain strangers throughout the message.  God wants you rich - prosperity preachin'.  I could name some names here, too, but I won't.

 

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 1971
Robert M. Warren | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2011 9:49 AM

Robert M. Warren:

Brother Mark:
If a good sermon is discipling the believers, why would it contain the gospel

Because we need it.

If I may expand on that answer:  As Christians we need the constant reminder that our salvation was the result of the obedience and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, not our work and striving. As still-fallen creatures, we will continuously try to revert to depending on our work for assurance of salvation, so we need the constant reminder of the Gospel.

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Posts 185
Bill Coley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2011 10:22 AM

I recently posed a form of this thread's central question to our church board, along with a buffet of possible responses as to what makes a "good" sermon. The consensus response from our board was that there was no consensus response.

My definition of a "good" sermon is one that offers the word God deems necessary for that sermon's audience -- a definition that offers less importance to sermon form, structure, or methodology, and more importance to sermon relevance and origin.

I remind all of us that it is wise to approach the task of defining "good" sermons with all possible humility. There are many Sundays when *I* think my sermon has hit it out of the homiletical ball park, but the congregation reacts with indifference. AND, there are many Sundays when, for me, the sermon lacks focus or consequence, but the congregation reacts with passion and conviction. Go figure.

If a sermon is preached in a congregation, and no one is changed by it, does it make a difference?

Bill

Posts 388
MJD | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2011 1:14 PM

Michael Childs:

Some good preaching:  I could name some names.   Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Piper, Maxie Dunnam, Billy Graham, Bill Bouknight, David Seamonds, N. T. Wright, David Wilkerson, John Ed Mathison, Jimmy Buskirk, Adrian Rogers, Charles Spurgeon...  Of course, good preaching is not imitating some other good preacher, but it helps so hear some examples.  A preacher must be authentic.

Some bad preaching:   When Scripture, Sermon, and Real Life remain strangers throughout the message.  God wants you rich - prosperity preachin'.  I could name some names here, too, but I won't.

Michael,

You gave us some great examples of "good preaching"  but you stopped short of "bad preaching"...  Who are some examples you could give us for bad preaching?Smile

Posts 129
ton verdam | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2011 2:01 PM

Good: after 25 yrs of preaching I found out that asking questions and let people think for themselves is the best: John 4:29 "Can this be the Christ?” Come and see for yourself. After reading a passage I ask what they have just heard. And they preach my sermon before I preach it. The points are right there... expository, but after they have figured it out for themselves...

Bad: just headknowledge.

Preaching is for the whole person: information (head), appellation (emotion) and motivation (will).

Posts 205
Oldnewbie | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2011 2:58 PM

This probably will sound really simplistic, but it is something I've never forgotten:

Good - Any sermon that brings us to the foot of the cross of Christ, encouraging us to behold His Glory in all that the act and the history leading up to that act entail.

This will strengthen the motivation of the hearers to be transformed.  Whatever the theme, this is the goal.

Bad - Any sermon that doesn't do the above. 

Posts 905
Brother Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2011 3:24 PM

Bill Coley:

If a sermon is preached in a congregation, and no one is changed by it, ...

Might be he definitive response for what characterizes a bad sermon 

 

"I read dead people..."

Posts 453
Mike S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2011 4:57 PM

MJD:

Michael,

You gave us some great examples of "good preaching"  but you stopped short of "bad preaching"...  Who are some examples you could give us for bad preaching?Smile

I would think you wouldn't know the names of the "bad" as they live in anonymity, but that may not be the case (unless of course you equate bad with "doesn't see things the way I do")

Posts 1523
Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2011 5:54 PM

Good: Expository preaching. Relevant applications. Interesting illustrations. Good sense of humor. Invitation to accept Christ.

 

Posts 2900
Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 23 2011 7:26 PM

Who are examples of bad preaching? Well, you know who you are! Seriously, I decided not to go negative. I tend to do that too much.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 190
Paul Chatfield | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2011 2:40 AM

Just to open a can of worms - what about a degree of interactivity?  It's not common nowadays, but there was often interaction in NT times in talks and if everyone has a bible, are discussions in small groups during the talk a way to ensure people stay interested/engaged?

Posts 1374
nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2011 8:05 AM

The Taize Community, which attracts tens of thousands of people, mostly young, unless they have changed since I was there last, decades ago, don't have a sermon in their liturgy.  The work of the sermon is done in small groups that meet daily and interact.  Everyone comes together in the church for worship.

Posts 1971
Robert M. Warren | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2011 9:52 AM

nicky crane:
The work of the sermon is done in small groups that meet daily and interact.  Everyone comes together in the church for worship.

Are each of the small group leaders tested with regard to their qualifications as elders, per the pastoral epistles? And with so many leaders, it must be quite a challenge to follow James' exhortation to not have too many teachers.

When our congregation meets, we consider all elements of the Lord's Day meeting to be "worship": Praising God through music, the offering, the Scripture reading, and most of all, the sermon.

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Posts 1374
nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2011 11:15 AM

Robert M. Warren:

Are each of the small group leaders tested with regard to their qualifications as elders, per the pastoral epistles? And with so many leaders, it must be quite a challenge to follow James' exhortation to not have too many teachers.

When our congregation meets, we consider all elements of the Lord's Day meeting to be "worship": Praising God through music, the offering, the Scripture reading, and most of all, the sermon.

The leaders of the groups I've been in have been either members of the Taize Community, so well tested, or one group was led by a visiting pastor known to and trusted by the community.  The idea behind not having a sermon in the main gathering is that no one preacher could address the needs of everyone there.  The groups can do that better.  The idea behind the groups was to provide a stimulus to help people listen to what God is saying to them personally.

In fact we use the same principle in our groups in the village, that people should go home after the group enriched with something God has said to them personally, on which they can act  (that's the idea - it doesn't always happen...).  Sometimes God says things to them that I would never have thought of.

Posts 340
Smithereens | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2011 5:01 PM

Floyd Johnson:

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.

Floyd,

When you posted this, I imagined you saw it as a great way to tap into the views of a diverse community easily. I have not tracked with the conversation and don't know where it's gone since then, but it appears that it's starting to go wayward to some degree...beyond what you intended, no doubt.

I have a suggestion for you (and any user) who wants to query the views of the community in the future for a research project or anything of that sort in the future: go ahead and start a thread with "Off topic:" in the title, explain what you're doing in the post, and link to a survey that you've created somewhere else (www.surveymonkey.com is free). Then coordinate with me or another Logos forum admin to have the thread immediately locked after posting.

The above idea seems like a good way to allow you to query the community without making it easy for the forums to get too far afield of their intended purpose.

 

To the community at large: in this particular case, it appears that what was intended as a general question about pre-existing views has turned into more of a discussion and intent to shape other people's views (which is a good thing in general, but outside of the intended purpose for these forums). To that end, it'd be great if we could all just quietly move along from this discussion on every level.

 

Thanks so much!

Posts 3810
spitzerpl | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2011 7:52 PM

Stephen Smith:
I have a suggestion for you (and any user) who wants to query the views of the community in the future for a research project or anything of that sort in the future: go ahead and start a thread with "Off topic:" in the title, explain what you're doing in the post, and link to a survey that you've created somewhere else (www.surveymonkey.com is free). Then coordinate with me or another Logos forum admin to have the thread immediately locked after posting.

I love this suggestion!

Posts 152
Ryan | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2011 8:24 PM

Brother Mark:

Bill Coley:

If a sermon is preached in a congregation, and no one is changed by it, ...

Might be he definitive response for what characterizes a bad sermon 

So it's up to the preacher as to whether anyone was changed or not? This is about as works based as it gets... I hope my preacher doesn't stumble over a word or two, 'cause salvations are at stake!

Preachers change no one for the better, it is God who quickens.

"All we can do is harden hearts, it is God who softens." - John Gerstner

Posts 3854
Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 25 2011 11:57 AM

Stephen:

I disagree that the question that I asked should be moved to another forum or platform.  The question is not the problem - in fact if I understand the first two pages of responses, a number of forum members appreciated the discussion - I know I did.  

Unless you are willing to follow the same policy for all off-topic discussions (i.e. prayer requests, jokes, images, examples, etc.), then your request makes little sense.  Rather, let me suggest that you take the initiative, when you see that a topic is going astray,  to lock it down. 

Many threads go astray - why handle my question any different than any other thread.  You represent LOGOS - you can do as you please.  Lock down any any and all threads when it seems that they have run their course.

You are invited to lock down this thread - if you think it is best.  On the other hand, it seems that one or two members are taking the discussion astray - not only this discussion, but several.  Might it be more appropriate to address the ones who are moving away from the original topic, rather than the topic itself, which had some good discussion?

Yours because His,

Floyd  

 

 

Stephen Smith:

Floyd Johnson:

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.

Floyd,

When you posted this, I imagined you saw it as a great way to tap into the views of a diverse community easily. I have not tracked with the conversation and don't know where it's gone since then, but it appears that it's starting to go wayward to some degree...beyond what you intended, no doubt.

I have a suggestion for you (and any user) who wants to query the views of the community in the future for a research project or anything of that sort in the future: go ahead and start a thread with "Off topic:" in the title, explain what you're doing in the post, and link to a survey that you've created somewhere else (www.surveymonkey.com is free). Then coordinate with me or another Logos forum admin to have the thread immediately locked after posting.

The above idea seems like a good way to allow you to query the community without making it easy for the forums to get too far afield of their intended purpose.

 

To the community at large: in this particular case, it appears that what was intended as a general question about pre-existing views has turned into more of a discussion and intent to shape other people's views (which is a good thing in general, but outside of the intended purpose for these forums). To that end, it'd be great if we could all just quietly move along from this discussion on every level.

 

Thanks so much!

 

Blessings,
Floyd

Pastor-Patrick.blogspot.com

Posts 1374
nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 25 2011 12:13 PM

Floyd:  I disagree that question that I asked should be moved to another forum or platform.  The question is not the problem - in fact if I understand the first two pages of responses, a number of forum members appreciated the discussion - I know I did. 

 

I appreciated the exchange of views, till it got hi-jacked.  We often get one or 2 people who get a bit dogmatic in such discussions, but they normally accept and respond to a gentle reminder of the forum guidelines.  But JoReba not only ignored gentle reminders in this thread, but also opened other threads and wrote in an offensive manner, insulting Logos and anyone who disagreed with his/her comments. I found this upsetting and offensive.  Other people who write dogmatically are seldom offensive with it.  I don't think it was Floyd's fault that the thread got hijacked.  Someone challenged one of my comments in a way I found dogmatic, but not offensive.  Fair enough!  He did it by questioning, not by hurling insults.

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