What is “Good Preaching”?

Today is Sunday, and many of you will be going to church somewhere (or watching online). So here is a question:

Does the “preaching” part of the service have anything to do with your decision?

There are many opinions as to what constitutes “good” preaching. Some prefer a preacher who spits and hollers, bangs the pulpit, and makes that little “huh” sound between every amplified phrase. Others prefer the professor/preacher who reads from a manuscript in a mono-tone, non-offensive, Winnie the Pooh-like voice.

Either way, what we are talking about is delivery, not substance.

Does delivery matter?

When Paul told Timothy to pay close attention to his doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16) and to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), content was the issue. However, if a sermon is poorly delivered, the efforts of the preacher could be nullified. If the hearer is distracted, bored, offended, lulled to sleep, or has his ear drums wounded, what is the point?

In my opinion, good preaching is preaching that contains solid, biblical content, but also keeps the audience engaged. One should never discount the importance of the power of the Spirit working through the weakness of men (1 Cor. 2:4; 2 Cor. 12:9). But, as ambassadors of the King (2 Cor. 5:20) who have been charged by our Sovereign to “compel” (persuade)  hungry souls to come to His table (Luke 14:23), shouldn’t how we say what we say be important?

It is reported that Abraham Lincoln preferred listening to preachers who looked like they were swatting at a swarm of bees. In a similar vein, I think it was Charles Wesley who said that a preacher should “put some fire in his sermon, or put his sermon in the fire.”

On the other hand, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is said to have read his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” with a steady, monotone voice, as the audience screamed in terror at the thought of falling into hell. So, delivery shouldn’t matter?

It would make sense that those entrusted with delivering sermons should do so in a manner befitting the “greatest story ever told,” but does delivery make a difference? After all, some of the greatest public speakers of all time were tyrants (Adolph Hitler).

Should delivery be an issue? Should we simply focus on truth?

What about you?

  • What type of preaching style do you prefer?
  • Has a particular style of sermon delivery ever caused you to tune out to what was being said?
  • What suggestions would you like to offer to one just beginning public ministry?

Now, to be fair, below is a link to our church Facebook page and one of the last sermons I preached. It was Sunday morning, last week, on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.

The preaching starts at around the 11-minute mark.

In your objective opinion, how would you describe my style in this sermon? Did my delivery enhance or distract from the subject of the sermon?

Ultimately, no sermon, no matter how well it’s delivered, can change hearts and minds and lives without the power of the Holy Spirit. Even the worst preacher, filled with God’s power, can be the most effective. In reality, one’s supreme goal should be for God to be heard and the preacher to be forgotten.

Yet, we are human, aren’t we? We should always want to strive to do better. Even Elijah presided over a “prophet’s school” (1 Samuel 19:18-24).*

 Click on the picture for link to sermon on Facebook.

*Just be careful when you talk about my bald head 😉


Filed under Abortion, Preaching

6 responses to “What is “Good Preaching”?

  1. I appreciate good content delivered with some style and enthusiasm. Entertainment alone isn’t enough. Substance is important. If that isn’t there, the delivery is useless.


  2. Evolution is a Hoax

    One of the greatest styles beyond Exegesis of a passage is the story telling of the Pinch. You lead someone down the garden path to a dead end or confrontation or fatal error. And the question is always. What went wrong. Creating the car accident even in an obvious way, is a great way to bring someone into a learning moment.
    Like when david cuts the hem of Sauls garment. Or the rooster crowing.
    Once you have to Pinch happening, then you can bring in statements of how things should be. And there is this fog of the story, the work room where you can call for repentance, for change, for courage, for cash. LoL.

    There is nothing like hearing the feet of God himself and the brush of the plants as God walks into a moment of history. Then if you build on that and shout a scripture. you might crack open a hardened soul. otherwise shouting for shouting sake is worthless.

  3. For me, a little Lester Roloff style definitely keeps me engaged but I wouldn’t want that for the entire 45 minutes.

    Oh wait. I said 45 minutes. But YES!

    I want far less singing and joking and far more preaching of the Word.

    I’m an anomaly.

  4. hadn’t seen anything for a few days so I thought I would stir the pot.

    Ask yourself at the end of every sermon, Who Cares? and What do you expect me to do about it? or what does this have to do with me? Or why not just ignore everything that was said?

    Some sermons or bible studies can be interesting to a point, showing how for example there are two different “armors of God” and they are plagiarized from the Old testaments description of the Messiah. But one can ask all those questions, what does anything matter. And the more tragedy someone has in their life, the stronger that statement is.

    So for abortion, one might say, so what to what you believe you are in no position to change it. No one in your church is dealing with it, what are you going to do, stop someone? While I also push a message of Life rather than abortion, to some degree, it doesn’t matter unless its about calling for people to vote, but if there is no election the urgency is gone. that is, unless there is teeth to it personally. And there cant be teeth unless the one that needs the sermon really believes God exists and that it matters.

    So I I guess the issue then is, who are you reaching and is it getting through and does it matter? If there is no connection, it doesn’t matter how big a battery you got, the broken down car wont start.

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