Monday, August 9, 2010

The secret of great preaching?

Less is more.

Is that the secret of great preaching?

It is an increasing conviction of mine that a sermon should be able to be summed up in one sentence, that it should have one main point, and that it should not be overloaded with points/lessons/teachings (no matter how good, wonderful and important they are).

Less is more.

Is simplicity and conciseness the key to cracking the barrier between 'good' sermons and 'great' sermons?


Anonymous said...

I sympathise with what you say - but what impacts us, say, in our fifties or so, will be different from what moved us in our twenties, when we had a whole range of live experience and learning ahead of us. Would you watch a TV program of 30 years ago? Some, maybe. Preaching to a wide range of people and ages must always be an exercise of faith in the Holy Spirit.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks for commenting, Anonymous.
Yes, it is difficult communicating to different ages and stages through one sermon. In theory a long sermon might be layered in such a way that one part speaks to one group, another to another. In practice life might not be so simple (e.g. if us oldies fall asleep during the youngies part, how will we know when to wake up?)

liturgy said...

Certainly what you write does not surprise me, Peter. Twenty years ago I was part of a group where we presented recordings of our sermons and critiqued them. As part of that the preacher would have written down the point of the sermon in one sentence. And group members individually would write down their understanding of the sermon in one sentence. The sentence of each person in the group was then shared, discussed, and finally compared with the preacher's sentence. You write as if this is no longer common practice in training and formation of preachers? I would have thought the ease of videoing now would enhance such a practice so that eye contact, gestures, etc., not remarked upon two decades ago, would be included in such formation.



Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco
I think you have just shared the secret of great training of preachers!