Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Good preaching

I heard two excellent sermons the other day. I think I can call them excellent on these grounds (there are others): people around me, after the service, spontaneously said how good the sermon was ... and could identify why they thought so; my children said the sermon was good; and I myself thought so!

I am sharing this less to praise the sermons (at the time I paid compliments to the preachers) but to use the opportunity to remind ourselves of some of the factors which make an excellent sermon and which all preachers can work on, no matter what their experience, academic ability, or vocal ability.

Diction: both preachers spoke clearly, with tone, volume, pace, and enunciation such that people could easily hear the words being spoken.

Logic: the flow of ideas in each sermon was comprehensible. Each point linked with the previous one; and the links could be understood as part of a rational sequence of statements, one building on another, and each contributing to the overall message of the sermon.

Length: each sermon had a good message; neither sermon undermined itself through repetition, sidetracks, or waffle; nor through taking so long that congregational attention was lost.

Personality: each sermon was delivered in a way which fitted the personality of the respective preachers; and that 'fitting' included the sense of passion, commitment, and enthusiasm for the gospel which resides in each preacher and which was given expression on this occasion.

Content: as it happens on this particular Sunday, both sermons spoke from a clearly identified passage of Scripture, stuck to that passage, and expounded it. And, bonus point, the passage was one of the readings from Scripture read in the service.

On a completely different note I gave a children's talk which seemed to go well. Though that may have something to do with the sweets I used and distributed to the hearers!!!!!

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