David Cook’s top 10 tips for preaching
Today at QTC, principal of SMBC David Cook is giving us his “Top 10 tips for preaching”. So here they are:
- Have a clear big question.
- The big question should be an engaging one that the passage will answer. This will avoid the “knowledge dump”. It also means having a clear big idea (Subject+compliment = big idea).
- Stress the indicative before the imperative
- Tell the listener why they should do something before you tell them what they should to do. It’s primarily about what God has done, then what we should do in response. This avoids lapsing into moralism.
- Make the heart of the sermon explanation, not illustration/application
- The authority is in the text, so bring the text to life! Always precede illustration with explanation.
- State the truth of the passage
- Explain the truth of the passage
- Illustrate the truth of the passage
- Apply the truth of the passage
- Work on your angle
- Work hard, observe the text and share real insight.
- Stretch your congregation, tell them something they don’t know.
- The art of preaching is the art of summary
- Learn to summarise! Some tips:
- Your are not saying everything the passage says (so you need to figure out what not to say)
- The summary does not interpret (just say what the author says, not what you think he’s saying)
- Cultivate a close reading of the text
- Show respect for the text!
- Avoid playing for laughs or popularity, but instead cultivate an in-depth analysis of the text
- Observe the text, and drive me to the text
- Don’t be negative!
- Why put obstacles in the way?
- The goal of the sermon is persuasion, not antagonism
- How to be persuasive:
- Learn all you can about the other points of view
- Think about the way you sound, and if you’re look angry or smiling
- Use simple words, simple ideas, and repeat them over and over
- Read good books on persuasion (“Nothing in my hand I bring” - Ray Galea, “How to win friends and influence people” - Dale Carnegie)
- Work hard at occasional sermons
- These are the ones that “outsiders’ will hear (funerals, weddings, etc.)
- Look for opportunities to preach the gospel to people who won’t normally hear it
- Be clear
- You’re not writing an essay!
- In a sermon you illustrate, emphasise, repeat. “You’re turning ears in to eyes”
- 5 keys for clarity:
- Isolate your dominant thought of the text
- Structure your material (and don’t hide your structure!)
- Don’t give too many quotes
- Do be dialogical (anticipate questions, and try to answer them)
- Watch your vocabulary and grammar (the preachers tools are his words)
- Preach Christ. Preach grace. Preach faith. Preach encouragingly. And Pray!
- The way we preach means nothing if we’re not preaching the right stuff.
So there you go. This stuff is gold! With David’s top 10 tips, combined with Phil Campbell’s top 10 tips for preaching, how can we possibly go wrong! I’m sure I’ll find out…