PDF Determining the Form: Structures for Preaching (Elements of Preaching)

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The course delineates the basic parts of a sermon, defines the terms involved in preaching, and describes several different types of sermons. Kent Edwards Publication Date: Video Hours: 4 Preaching is one of the highest callings; it is also one of the most challenging. In this foundational course, Dr. Edwards is known for his passion for preaching, and brings over 30 years of Christian leadership experience, both as a senior pastor and a church planter. It includes guidance on how to select a text and how to produce and format a sermon outline, with particular focus on the use of illustrations and methods for application.

Kent Edwards. Format: Digital. Publisher: Lexham Press. Be the first to rate this. Discount Price. Configure payment plan in cart. Add to Cart. Goheen Publication Date: Video Hours: 6. Preaching is one of the highest callings; it is also one of the most challenging. What Does the Text Mean? Studying Parallel Accounts 2. Discovering Greek Grammatical Constructions 3. Part 1 3. Part 2 4. Communicating the Content and Application Part 1 6.

Components of Application: Where? Components of Application: Why? What Makes Application Difficult? Louis, Missouri, where he has served in leadership capacities since They were human beings like us. On the other hand we need to realise that when we read the Bible, we read books and letters that were written by people who lived over a period of years and who lived mostly in the Middle-East. The times and cultures that the Bible was written in, influenced the way the Word of God is written down in every way.

The church has always confessed that the Bible is the Word of God given to us in human words in history. This means on the one hand that the Bible has eternal relevance because it speaks Gods truth that is truth in every time and every place. At the same time God spoke through people in a specific historical and cultural context and used their words, images and historical events.

So, the Bible speaks Gods eternal truths in the particular circumstances and events of history. The beauty of this is that Gods Words are not like philosophical thoughts, way above our daily life, but that they enter into everyday life, then and there. That gives them meaning for our ever day life here and now as well. At the same time we need to consider that Gods speaking in history to people living then and there, means that we cannot simply read the Bible and apply it directly to our situation.

It was written first of all to these people in that time. In order to find the real meaning of the Word of God, we first need to know what the original meaning for the original readers or listeners was. Only then can we begin to understand and to interpret the text as it is written in our Bibles. If we want to learn the true meaning of a text, we first need to discover what these words meant for the people who were originally addressed.

In order to find out what it means, we need to take three steps of what is called exegesis, which means find out the original intent of this part of Scripture. Since we do this exegesis in order to prepare a sermon, we will take 6 steps in total to discover the original intent, the message of the text and what it means for us today. This is not your sermon yet, this is the preparation for your sermon. This is collecting the building blocks that you will use to build your sermon. Before you start working on a part of Scripture, you first need to deliberately choose a text to preach on. Preachers choose their text in three different ways.

The second is looking for Bible passages which will speak into a current situation or need in the congregation. The third is for the preacher to prayerfully select a passage which speaks to him directly — and the sermon then becomes an expression of the burden he has on his heart. We said that preaching is persuading your people of the relevance of the biblical message for today. Therefore step one in the preaching process is discovering the message.

This is the very first thing you do, when you sit down to prepare your sermon.


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You ask, what is the message? There are six steps we can take which will help us work out what that message is. These steps are a route towards the place where the text will speak to us as we analyse it thoroughly. Step 1: What is the situation of the text? It is crucial that you make it clear to your listeners what is actually going on in the text. You can only do that if you realise for what occasion this Bible book has been written and what was the purpose of this book or this chapter of the Bible?

What happened in Israel that God needed to act in this way or what was going on in the church of Corinth that this letter needed to be written? The answer to these questions about the historical context are often found in that Bible book itself. So the first part of exegesis of the text is discovering what it is actually saying.

This requires reading, reading and more reading. If you read it aloud you will hear and see what is written and how it is written. You need to make yourself read it with care and concentration. If you read the whole Bible book or letter as you would a paperback, you will gain an overview, which is essential to understand the context of the text.

What you are aiming for is to come back to the text with fresh eyes, and see it hopefully in a new light. Another way is to visualize the story — turn it into a movie in your imagination. Use all your senses: what do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you taste? Get a real feel for it. It helps if you put what it is saying into your own words.

The answers are not always evident from the text alone. You need to study the context and get a full picture — an overview. Otherwise you may end up misunderstanding what the text is actually saying. If available, Bible commentaries are very helpful to find information about the context and the original intent of the writers. If you have access to the internet, there you can find lots of information as well.

For example, if you want to prepare a sermon on 1 Corinthians , how does this step look like? I chose this text because here Paul talks about the secret of his fruitful preaching. If you want to know about the situation he is writing about, you can find this in Acts 18 and in 1 Corinthians We read that Paul came from the capitol of Greek world of knowledge and philosophy, the city of Athens.

There he had argued and discussed with the great minds of these days on the Areopagus hill. If you look at his speech, he uses the poetic and philosophical language of the Greek, he talks about God and how God send a man who was raised from the dead. He does not mention the name of Jesus or the cross. The result is that they laugh at him and only a couple of people gave there life to Jesus. Then Paul continues his travels from Athens to Corinth. He soon finds out that the Jews want to see miracles of the preachers that pass by the city and that the Greek wat to hear philosophical wisdom 1 Corinthians But after Athens, Paul no longer wanted to adjust his message or language to what people want to hear.

He says in 1 Corinthians and in 1 Corinthians that he had decided to only preach about Jesus Christ crucified. So that the situation he is in. This is a second crucial step in preparing the sermon — what is it about, what is its main message? Every text contains one key message. The author may break it down into a number of branches but there is always only one trunk. That one message, which should also be the central theme of the sermon, is what they aim to bring to the people.

So, it is not a good idea to take an individual word, sentence or thought out of the text and preach on that. You will miss the message the author intended, and there is also the real danger that you will go your own way.

How to Preach with Supernatural Power – John Piper

Looking for the message is looking for the reason why the writer wrote this text in the first place. What did he want his readers to know or to do. Why did he write this? The answer to this question is often that there is a principle or biblical lesson that the writer teaches in the midst of a specific situation. Ask yourself: what is he really want to say? If you want to make sure you really have a clear message, force yourself to write it down in one sentence, avoiding theological terminology.

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It must be a sentence that can be understood by the teenagers of your church as well! In our example of 1 Corinthians we are looking for the message by asking these questions above. His purpose of writing this letter is that he found out, after he had left Corinth to go to Ephesus, that people started to criticize him and his preaching.

Was he a true apostle, a real preacher since he appeared so weak and his sermons were so simple? Then Paul writes in response the reason why he preached like he did. These are in my opinion the key words of this part of Scripture, the message he wants to proclaim.

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He wants to make clear the difference of believing the Word of God because of human wisdom or eloquence or, happened when Paul preached, because they are touched through the simple words about Jesus Christ crucified by the Holy Spirit. So the message of Paul in one sentence is: You can only believe in Jesus love for you on the cross by the power of the Holy Spirit! When it becomes clear what the text is about and what the message is, it is important that you put it into a broader context.

Paul or Peter or Isiah is not the only one in the Bible who has spoken about this important subject. You need to find out what is said about it in other parts of Scripture. This will add a depth and richness as these other texts, acting like lamps shining from different angles, reveal more treasures in your text. It is a way of illustrating the truth of this part of Scripture with the help of other parts of Scripture. This will make the message even more convincing.

Looking at 1 Corinthians , several other Bible texts come to mind. We have reached the stage where we have discovered what the text is saying.

We have heard what God is saying. You sense the text is becoming more and more a part of you — and it is increasingly dominating your thoughts. Now that the context and the message are clear, and we have plumbed its depths, we have to be absolutely honest about its affect upon us.

In fact it may well create the very same reactions as those who first heard or read these words thousands of years ago: astonishment and amazement or doubt and confusion — does God really mean. A clear Biblical message always calls for a response of some sort — especially if it clashes with our own experience or challenges the way we have been thinking about what the passage means. At this point in your sermon preparation you are not only doing an exegesis of the text, but you also perform an exegesis of the people that will listen to your sermon. Talk about the objections in your sermon.

But make sure you answer them too. Help your listeners find a way of dealing with the difficulties they are having by pointing them in the right direction. Realise that you are just like them: a human being with the same feelings, longings and troubles as all of them.

So, if you want to come close to their hearts and deal with their objections to this biblical message, just be very honest with yourself, search your own heart and mind and see what your objection is to this message. How do you deal with your objections and still life close to God despite your yes.. This way you will be able to help your church with it as well. He will use you, but He does not depend on your wisdom or powerful preaching, He just uses your words to touch peoples hearts.

The sermon may have been an excellent discourse on a Biblical theme, and people may talk about it for a long time afterwards, but it still may not help them in their daily lives. The function of the preacher is not just to pass on the message, but help his listeners put it into practice. That is the ultimate goal.

What changes in their lives do you want your message to produce? Preaching is always aimed at getting a response — a response which will impact their everyday lives. But the direction God wants them to go should be made clear to them. Make this application for their daily life as practical as possible. What should they do?

What do I want people to do with the message of Paul? I want them to believe and trust that they should not wait with proclaiming the gospel or witnessing about Jesus until they think they are wise or strong or convincing enough. Just speak from your heart and the Spirit will convince those who listen to you.

Do not hesitate to speak of Jesus and the cross, though it sounds foolish, the Spirit will reach those He wants to reach with your words! In these five steps we have made our way to the heart of this text and the core of the sermon.

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Building sermons in community | Mercy Hill

We have discovered the message. We have an objective to aim at. What matters now is to structure the sermon in such a way that the message and the relevance of it can be effectively communicated. It is the same with preaching. You may have many great and amazing things to say, but you have to say them in a well-planned and structured way, otherwise no-one will listen. The same goes in preaching. And the journey needs to be as interesting and attention-holding as possible. Whereas almost all earlier books on preaching teach the traditional structure of a beginning, middle and conclusion, I encourage preachers to structure the message so that it gradually builds towards its climax.

I believe this is more appropriate to our media based culture. Preachers need to look for the drama that is already there in the text. It will vary from passage to passage. If you get it right — your listeners will pay close attention. In practice, finding a good structure can be quite difficult for many preachers. How do you take the results of your reading, studying and meditation and form them into a well-structured sermon?

And perhaps a bigger question is — how do you get that message into the heart of the hearers? As we noticed at the beginning of this chapter, it is not enough to educate the mind alone. The heart also has to be touched otherwise there will be no real change in the life of the listener. So the challenge now is to convey the message in such a way that the listener is captivated and that it touches their heart. Of course, you may be able to come up with several methods for structuring your message — which also depends on the kind of text you are preaching from, whether its poetry, history, letters and so on.

The more familiar you are with one type of structure the easier it will be for you to adapt it as necessary. I like to preach to the heart rather than to the mind only. Outlined below are 5 steps which will help you towards a good structure:. The first part of the sermon should create a direct connection between the message and the listeners which reaches their hearts.

Preaching is a privilege

One way of losing the attention of your church very rapidly is by plunging into the text or explanation of the text immediately. People are not ready yet, they need to be taken by the hand and lead into the context of this part of Scripture. To say it in the terminology of a farmer: first you have to plow the ground before you saw the seed. The beginning of the sermon is helping people to relate with this part of Scripture. The best way to do that is not by giving them textual details, but by making the connection between the situation of your text and the situation of our daily life and emotions.

Remember there are so many different people in front of you, all with quite different levels of understanding. The manual laborer and the university graduate are sitting next to each other. How do you reach both of them at the same time? How do you hold their attention? The answer is not to approach them on a purely intellectual level, but start with something they can both identify with. Use the language of the heart and the emotions. Stories from everyday life work well — especially if it is something you have experienced yourself or have heard or read, maybe in the newspaper.

The important point is that it is familiar and recognizable to everyone. You also need to make sure, that the story illustrates the central emotion of your sermon. By that I mean it touches them at the level of their deepest feelings. Let us look, for example, to the story of Jesus, visiting Martha and her sister Mary in the village of Bethany, which is written in Luke People will not be triggered to listen any further by these words. Now, almost always, one of the two have to visit the bathroom very urgently just after they started to do the dishes, so the other one is left with the dishes and does the all the work by herself.

This happened again last night, but now, the child doing all the work alone again became so angry that she came up to me, stamped her feet and shouted: Daddy, tell her to help me!. After this, I tell about the situation of the text, but now people can relate to Martha, feel what she felt and recognize her anger. This draws them into the story of text with all their heart. They are now ready to hear more about the situation of the text and to hear the message. So, the story of everyday life that you start with is meant to have the same emotion as the story of the Bible text you are preaching!

How do you do that? You demonstrate just how meaningful and applicable it is to those sitting in front of you. Get inside the characters of the people the passage is talking about — what they felt when this or that happened. Make the characters come alive! You will find you are keeping your audience riveted — you are talking about emotions and experiences they know all about. If we look again at the story of Marta and Mary, at this stage you can paint the situation in such a way that it is recognizable for your people: My daughter stood before me, angry and asking in a loud voice: Daddy, tell my sister to help me!

Tell her to help me! Marta was frustrated, because when visitors arrived in a Middle-East house, you do not just pour them some coffee or tea, you prepare a meal for them. So Marta needs to prepare 13 meals at once. And I think that she would love to sit at the feet of Jesus as well, why not? But somebody has to do the work for the Lord, somebody has to open up the church, somebody has to teach the youngsters, somebody has to organize the congregation, somebody has to go and evangelize and so on.

That why Marta is angry: she is so busy serving the Lord and Mary just sits down to listen. The next step focuses on the main theme of your sermon. This is the central message — what it is all about. Now you can expand on it and speak at length and in detail. It may also help to clarify or reinforce your message by using other appropriate texts as you discovered in your preparation — but not too many.

They can often add extra insight and understanding of your main text — like a light coming from a different angle. Jesus message is very clear: it is not about what you can do for Me, but what you allow Me to do for you. Most important in life is that you sit down and listen to Me, hear My words, read the Word, receive what I want to share with you.

Determining the Form: Structures for Preaching

By now, it is important to express the doubts and objections which may arise in response to your message. You need to be honest about them — acknowledge that this is how some people will react. Many preachers are so concerned with how their message will go down with their listeners that they forget to stop and ask themselves what their own response to it is.

If you openly share what your own reactions are to your message, your honesty will win over your listeners. They will realize you are on their side. The more you talk to people, and understand the issues and problems they may have about certain Bible themes, the more you will be able to help them. They will see you are the same, that you have had the same questions, the same difficulties. But you have taken the time to find the answers to these questions. Then when they see how seriously you take them, they will listen to you, and take in what you have to say. Yes, what Jesus said is true, but somebody has to do the job.

Somebody has to organize church, prepare a sermon, make music, watch over the little children and so on?! Indeed we cannot. But what we can do is start our day with sitting at the feet of Jesus. If we start with reading the Word and meditating it and pray over it, we start with Jesus and that will bless everything we do during the rest of the day. The fifth element in the sermon is its closing. You have preached a message from a text or passage of Scripture, now you challenge the people with how they are going to respond to it.

What am I going to do with it? Where do I go from here? What changes is it calling me to make? In many ways the conclusion is like a signpost, pointing people in the right direction. It can also be a new beginning. There is now work to be done, and now I know how to do it.

It can also be a door, opening out into a new life — with new vision, new hope, new dreams. Make this point as clear and practical as possible, so people really know what to do to apply this message into their daily life! So, my advice to you, church, is that you plan a moment every day to sit at the feet of Jesus.

For some it might be early in the morning, for others it might be in the evening or night. The next question is how we are going to write our sermon down? Do we write it out in full? Or do we use a few key words? Preachers have different ideas on whether you should or should not write out the sermon in full.

The reason, they say, is that preaching is a responsible task and therefore you should choose each word carefully. Unfortunately, this way of thinking has prevailed in our theological seminaries for many decades. The result is that many preachers write down carefully composed sentences and then deliver that same written language from the pulpit.

Preaching the sermon then becomes more like an exercise in reading instead of speaking.

The notion that not writing out the sermon in full encourages a casual irreverent attitude in the pulpit is usually based on a few bad examples. Of course, there are people who preach with either no notes or just a few — and do indeed waffle. But that is more likely caused by inadequate preparation.

Communication experts tell us that eye contact is a key factor in connecting with people. The best method is to limit them to key words. They will keep you on track, as you have a quick glance down to remind yourself what your next point is. You will have much more time to have eye contact with the congregation. It works by creating an image of your notes, in the form of a map, which is then easy to visualize and remember.

You can see at a glance where you are in your message, and what you should say next. Every key word has been chosen in such a way that it is like a stock cube — containing concentrated information with all the key words interconnected. Because you compress your thoughts into key words and write down only the barest essentials you need to remember, one sheet of paper can keep you going for quite a long time.

Many people who first look at a Mind map may find it confusing. For those who use it though, it enables them to quickly access the information which is in their mind. You make the mind map as carefully as you can. You can always alter it later. Mind mapping can quickly be learnt based on a number of simple principles.