Tuesday is for Preaching
One of the men that I trained as a church planter in the early years of our own church plant has been marvelously successful from a numerical point of view. He and his original partner now pastor a growing multi-site mega church that for the first nine years boasted a 40%+ conversion rate. I still remember a somewhat anxious phone call about two years into his church plant. Our phone rang and he asked me, “Marty, how do you stay fresh in the pulpit? I have told them everything I know, and then some. How do you stay fresh?”
I told him then, what I have written about elsewhere, that a great pattern is to follow the 5-5-5 plan. I was reminded of that conversation when I read a recent quote by Tim Keller. Dr. Keller said, “No matter what you do, your first 200 sermons will be terrible.” Looking back through some of my early messages, I have to agree!
Here’s a few more ideas:
- Get away for an annual prayer retreat to plan your preaching calendar.
- Preach through books. It will keep you from avoiding, even subconsciously, those controversial passages that often get overlooked. Your people need the whole counsel of God, not just the easy, or familiar, or favorite passages of your personality and experience.
- Don’t do original /new exegesis on Lord Supper Sunday’s. Take the messages between Lord’s Suppers and weave them into a devotional around communion. This will give you a break from the hard work of exegesis and force you to do some deeper reflection on the greatness of the cross and the atonement.
- Develop the men around you. When you are teaching others how to work through a text, your own feet are held to the fire of accountability.
- Let every text rake your soul. People need to hear from a man of God who is authentic. Let every text probe your own soul for inconsistency and dross. Confess it. Forsake it. Now preach with authority.
- Read John Piper’s Supremacy of God in Preaching, annually. Seriously. It is short (about 110 pages), inspiring, challenging and every year you will learn something new.
- Read, Bruce Mawhinny’s Preaching with Freshness. A recently revised (2008) and creative book that will help you draw all of your experience into your preaching. Really a great book to help the preacher live a “whole” rather than compartmentalized life.