How To Write A Sermon

Step 1: Select a text. This can be done in any one of a thousand ways except consulting the Lectionary. After all, it’s much better to simply open your Bible at random and leave it up to random chance the unknowable movings of the Spirit than to have some other man telling you which verses to preach from. For the purposes of this example I have opened my own Bible and my finger is now fondling Psalm 22:7.

Step 2: Make it relevant. We know that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine. And what is doctrine really if not a way to make the hearers understand how to think and feel the right way about the current issues of the moment. Looking at our text we see the words “All they that see me laugh me to scorn.” Well if that’s not relevant then I don’t know what is since people are laughing Christians to scorn all the time these days, especially ones who stick to the old paths and have godly standards like the folks in our church.

Step 3: Illustrate. Now that we’ve got our verse and our topic, let’s come up with some real world examples that will help the common man in the pew (who is not overly gifted with insight like his preacher is) understand exactly what is being said here. For example if we’re talking about people laughing with scorn, then it’s the perfect time to tell the story of how those college kids on spring break wouldn’t even put down their beers long enough to hear me tell them how much God hates them. If you haven’t been in the ministry long enough to acquire some stories of your own just use ones from other people. In fact, you can buy a book of my own personal illustrations for only 27.99 in the church bookstore.

Step 4: Yell.

Step 5: Invitation.

No good sermon should ever take more than 20 or 30 minutes to write. If you’re spending more time than that, you’re doing it wrong and should probably just use the sermon that you heard a guy preach at that conference that one time.

141 thoughts on “How To Write A Sermon”

    1. Yeah that’s what I was thinking. Take twice as long to preach or longer, and drag. it. out. Never mind about the people needing to use the washroom because their bladders are bursting. They’re unspiritual and need you to yell at them another 20 minutes! ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

      1. It really used to bother me when the pastor would say, “Finally,” and not really mean it. What else does “final” mean?

        1. Ours would always say he was gonna hit the landing strip soon but that was the longest landing strip in history! :mrgreen:

        2. If you have to interrupt yourself to promise you’ll finish soon, you know you’r talking for much too long.

        3. What about those preachers who always make a big show of taking their watch off and setting it on the pulpit, and then ignoring it for an hour! ๐Ÿ™„

        4. Re “finally” — to go by Biblical precedent, it means roughly “half-way through” — in the book of Phillipians, chapter 3 begins with “Finally” — and there are two more chapters to come in this four-chapter book!

        5. And if you say “Just one more verse,” you need to stop at one. Especially if you just finished preached on “Lying to the Holy Spirit.”

      1. Our former pastor would go on for an hour or more and then apologize and say he really was trying to do better. Then he’d just do it all over again. He couldn’t help himself. He’d say something like, “I won’t have you turn to this verse, I’ll just read it…” then make you turn to it anyway. He’d say he had 3 more points but he’d just read them and not preach them and then preach them anyway.

        Another thing he’d do which he must’ve learned at one of the many conferences he went to was start to read a verse, stop and say “What?” making us answer with the next word. He got to the point where he couldn’t read through a verse anymore without “What? What?” at several points. This really got on my nerves! This was one of the things that got my husband wanting to leave.

        When we met with the pastor of our new church before joining and we were telling him about the former church and pastor he said, “I hear he preaches really long sermons.” My husband and I, not wanting to badmouth him anymore than we already had, rolled our eyes and said, “Yeah…” :mrgreen:

      2. My former fundy pastor was at LEAST an hr Sunday morning, not including the song service. And then he had two hr long messages Sunday night =O

        1. EDIT: as in, two sermons, each an hr or so long, with a short break in between.

          Oh, and we had one on Tuesday night as well….

  1. “better … than to have some other man telling you which verses to preach from.”

    “[you] should probably just use the sermon that you heard a guy preach at that conference that one time.”

    You think any of them has ever noticed the slight contradiction there? Because it’s completely wrong to do it if some non-fundy type says it, but if one of the fundy menagawd says it, why, it’s practically scripture!

  2. No, You definitely can’t forget the invitations now… Those long, drawn out invitation of “Just as I am” sang over and over again until finally on the six verse the preacher says “Now, I’m not going to force you to leave your pew…”

  3. Preach your message (it should take a good 45 minutes or so), then just to make sure that everyone has truly heard what you’ve said, take an additional 15 minutes to reiterate all the points you’ve made.

    1. AARRGGHH!! ๐Ÿ‘ฟ That’s another thing the former pastor would do and it made me CRAZY! He’d have 10 points. He’d preach the first one thoroughly. Then before going onto the second point, he’d say the first one, and repreach it. Then he’d go on to the second point, preach it thoroughly and go back to the top to rehash the list repreaching both points! Then he’d go onto the third point…

      After an hour had passed he’d only preached 5 of the 10 points because he kept repeating everything each time and regoing through the list!

      I suggested to him once that he break up the sermon into two sermons but no! He had a different sermon for PM so he had to get it ALL done in one, which caused us to still be sitting there at 1:00 PM! ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

  4. Regardless of how long you actually took to write the sermon, you have the power of the Holy Spirit to claim that it took you 8 hours. Because even though you don’t have a secular job, you have to guilt the pew dwellers into thinking you are busier than them, everyday of the week.

    1. In my blind ignorance I made church my idol. I was there for everything and supported everyhting. I was there 5 days a week doing something. I thought it was because I loved Jesus. I was being used. I started to notice EVERY time the pastor talked to me he was justifying how hard he worked. I discovered he was jealous of the fact I spent more time at church than he did so he would go on & on about how long it took to prepare sermons. That was the one area, “you have no idea how much work this is”, he proved his superior dedication to God. I excused it for years then began to read the Bible for myself and I learned a lot. I learned he was wrong about several things based on just the Bible I was reading. That was the beginning of the end for me.

      1. Fred, this is easy to do — the Word of God is the key to freedom and understanding. God wants us to be knowledgeable about Him and what He says.

  5. itโ€™s the perfect time to tell the story of how those college kids on spring break wouldnโ€™t even put down their beers long enough to hear me tell them how much God hates them.

    I dunno. My pastor and I talked about how much God loves us over beers at his place last week. I must be in the wrong kind of church… ๐Ÿ™„

  6. You missed working guilt into the sermon. You have to have an illustration that is nearly universal in its application that you can twist into the equivalent of a facebook status forward, “If you love God then you will do _______.”

    Given the Reference that you have picked out it would be a perfect time to circle the wagon around BJU and rail against the “Do Right” movement. Connect the dots from the “Do Right” movement, to the “Occupy” movement and make sure to cannonize the officer who used pepperspray, saying there should be more like him.

    From there launch into either a sermon-within-a-sermon on how homosexuals have destroyed the nation or how the liberals have torn down the very things our forefathers fought for to make this a Christian nation. (because we all know that Independent, Fundamental Baptists believe in a god that is so weak that he cannot work unless we are a “Christian” nation, and they believe in works sanctification so much so that if they could just get everybody to live 2 Chronicles 7:14 for a day then national revival will break out.)

    The Fundie sermon is rich in myth and homespun illustrations… and poor in truth, love and the Gospel of Christ. Yes, they preach just enough truth to make it sound pious, but it all boils down to what man does to appease the god of his imagination. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

    1. Don – It’s amazing that no matter how long you are out of fundyland, the ability to recall the bad sermons is amazing. Further proof that the IFB is abusive in its ways.

      1. YES! It is proof that when you get thoroughly mind-screwed for long enough, it just isn’t that easy to forget. Repetition repetition repetition.

    2. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Don, were you eavesdropping on my phone conversations yesterday? I kid you not, my mother went into that same tirade, hitting those points in that order. Only difference was that her springboard was a videogame my kid was playing, not a Bible verse. Wait, I think she got terrorism & anarchy in there, too. ๐Ÿ™„

      If that doesn’t prove fundies have an agenda & Scripture is merely secondary, I don’t know what does… ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  7. After the sermon and recap, make a long prayer and repeat all tbe points again while allheadsbowedeyesclosed. Then stand for the demanding of repentance, er, I mean invitation

  8. Ugh. How many women volunteer to work in the nursery so they don’t have to listen to a sermon like this? (And how many men wish they could volunteer in the nursery)?

    1. Not me. Nothing would be worse than that even the long sermons. But they didn’t miss out, the sermon was piped into the nursery. No wonder the babies would be crying so loud and never go to sleep… ๐Ÿ˜ก ๐Ÿ˜ฅ ๐Ÿ™„ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ™

    2. ME! That is how they got their volunteers!! I started as early as they would let me. Before that I usually had to use the bathroom for a long time, or go get something important that I forgot in the other building or go lay down in the car because I had a stomach ache or pretty much anything I could think of that would give me a break for at least PART of the sermon. Fortunately my parents didn’t make me sit with them and if they ever asked anything about the sermon I would say, “I HATE when he uses the word “Goodier” and they would nod because that was enough to prove I was in there.

    3. My husband and I volunteered for junior church to escape the torturous hour long guilt trip. I kind of miss my flights of imagination during those salvation questioning tantrums.

    1. If you don’t mind I would rather never again see the words “Jack Schaap” and “rubbing off” in the same sentence. Thanks.

      1. I’d rather not see the words Jack Schaap in any sentence… but on this site you can’t talk about the IFB without mentioning its kingpin now can you? Ugh. ๐Ÿ™

      2. I am glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I saw Viniator3’s comment or Darrell’s response. That would have been quite the spit-take. ๐Ÿ˜†

  9. WRITE a sermon? What kind of feeble Mannagid has to write it down in advance? If you’re truly inspired, you just rant and ramble about whatever is on the top of your head, amen?

      1. They might be pinheads but what they lack in meaningful discourse they make up for by bloviating anything and everything that comes into their heads.

  10. I think my old pastor used to spend more time alliterating his points than he did figuring out what the passage was saying. But it’s not like that helped anyone remember his sermons any better, so I have to wonder what the point of it is?

      1. the pastor at my old Fundy IFB church was from PCC and had a thing for P’s…. always, always, always… his sermon points were P’s….

    1. The point is when your sermon gets printed in the Sword of the Lord or Revival Fires or whatever your camp’s rag is, your fellow preachers can marvel at your alliteration skills.

      It also makes a fun game to guess the next point based on the pattern of alliteration. Makes the long sermons a little more bearable.

      1. I have a book by Warren W Wiersbe which makes some good points against forcing sermons into alliterative formats. But then with a name like his…

        1. LOL @ his name!

          Actually as an English teacher, I tend to like words and word play and enjoy alliteration, but it is extremely dangerous to twist Scripture or ignore some of it simply to fit a pattern.

  11. In my IFB wonderings I did come across one man who preached expository messages through books of the Bible. Many say they preach through books of the Bible but 90% of what you hear is just topical messages about the same talking points that each circle of IFB emphasizes at the moment. (standards, local church, music…..) Preachers can still hijack a good expository message but I love that type of teaching/preaching. I suppose its so rare because it takes much more work to prepare.

    1. Expository preaching is rare for two reasons (in my opinion). One you mentioned already, it really does take much longer to wrestle with the text and determine its true meaning in context than it does to whip up a topical message. Two, if you are truly preaching exegetically, you don’t get to work in your own agenda – you only get to say what the text says. I think most IFB pastors simply don’t wish to be constrained to only say what Scripture says, because if they did, a lot of their edifices would come tumbling down.

    2. Aaaaah I love expository preaching: it’s the only thing I miss about my old fundy pastor.

      Though the last time I heard an expository message (at a non-fundy church) it somehow felt wrong because I hadn’t heard one in so long. ๐Ÿ™

    3. Jack Hyles actually BOASTED that he only preached the same number of topics, all the time. I forget the number–14? 19? Expository was not in his dictionary. He totally preached his philosophy of life, twisted as it was, AND was proud of that. ๐Ÿ™„ ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

      1. From what I’ve heard of Hyle’s preaching and read of his writing, he had just ONE topic (and all his imitators have the same one). That topic is: “How Great I Am.”

      2. Of course, he did have a lot of variations on that theme, such as “How Much Better I Am Than You,” “How Everybody Else Is Wrong,” “How God Couldn’t Get Along Without Me,” etc.

        1. I only heard hyles preach in person a handful of times, when he came to my old church in Michigan, and a couple times when I visited first baptist. Other than that I remember our church having a whole lot of his sermon tapes in the church library and I got them out to listen to. At that time I heard many sermons from him.

          And you are absolutely right. The man never said anything remotely like, “Here is something I did wrong and I had to learn from it.” Nope it was always, “This is how I do things and if you are wise, you will do it the way I do it.” In other words, “I have never made a mistake in my life, I was created perfect and sent here to show you low life peons how to do things right, I mean the way I do them which is the only RIGHT way to do them!”

          Why else would he write a book called, “How we do it at first baptist church” as though that were the authority on how to do it so it pleases God, since any other way won’t please God? ๐Ÿ™„

    4. No matter the brand…IFB or not…all preahers are to be expository or else they aren’t doing their job. I have come across a few IFB who do..and are among the best at it…(Know of one IFB scholl that uses MaCarthurs book on expository preaching as a text book!) but the Hyles influence has been frequent and often fatal to it.

      I like alliteration.rhyme, any other tool as long as it is just thta…a tool that helps make the message work, and not an end unto itself.

      Always though Adrian Rogers was really good at it and that James Merrit still is.

    5. My former fundy pastor claimed to preach expository messages, even preaching through entire books of the Bible. However, he spent very little time on the real meaning of the verse (if he had a clue at all) and the rest was just misusing the verse to preach about what he wanted to preach about (hobby horse issues). I still remember the time he preached Col 2 and somehow managed to twist it into a message about pastoral authority.

  12. I can’t believe all the griping on here about “long sermons”! Some of you people would really have had a hard time in Paul’s day!

    And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. Acts 20:7

    And also, any preacher worth his salt (IFB or not) should continue to fine tune his message each and every day! Laboring in the Word (1 Timothy 5:17) is something that is sorely missing in today’s preachers!

    And than we come to those in the pew, those who are content to sit, soak, and sour! They want nothing but fluff and preaching that’ll make them feel good – your best life now and purpose driven!

    Hey, if you want your best life now and purpose driven, get in the Book! But no! They want and are content with “Gospel lite” with no sense of conviction or standards!

    Yes, we preach Heaven, the Grace, and love of God but we also preach Hell, separation, holiness, and standard because it’s STILL IN THE BOOK! We preach the whole counsel of the Word of God not just the parts we want to! It’s not a buffet line!

    And anyone that has a problem with long messages and the whole of the Word of God needs to check themselves for carnality is creeping in!

    1. Alright Mr. Sanctimonious Prig, let me ask you this? Do you ever need to use the bathroom? Do you need to eat? Does your butt fall asleep on hard pews while the man of God goes on and on and on and on? Do you know people’s attention spans are short (even adults) and we just can’t take that much in one sitting?

      It’s not a lack of spirituality, it’s a human need. How can one be thinking spiritual thoughts when their bladder is bursting? Some of us are 50+ and it can be a real agony. If the preacher is young he doesn’t understand the needs of those of us who are getting older and our physical needs. My husband is a diabetic and needs to eat regular meals. If breakfast was 5 hours ago he could have a problem based on the diabetes, not based on a lack of spirituality.

      Are you less than human?

      And complaining about long sermons is not necessarily a complaint about the content of the sermons. Yes his habits drove me nuts, the what what what and all that. But the content of the sermons was usually alright as long as it wasn’t so much guilt tripping. I’ve had it with that. A balance would be nice.

      Why do you super fundies always equate a complaint about the guilt tripping as a desire to go all the way to the other end of the spectrum? I do not just want an ear tickling message. But I would like some positive with the negative. Life isn’t all negative! ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

      As for Paul do you think no one got up to go use the facility? What about the young man Euticus (however you spell it) that fell out a window because Paul was preaching so long! Sometimes I’ve felt like falling out of the pew while the man of God went on and on and on and on and on…..!!! ๐Ÿ™„ (We need a zzzzz emoticon lol)

    2. You keep talking about “The Book” and “Getting in the Book” and all. You’re talking about the BIBLE, right? Because I have no problem with anything that is taught us that is in the Bible and even long sermons if they were really teaching us stuff IN the Bible. The problem with all the IFB sermons I have ever heard is that they are twisted to the point they don’t resemble the Bible at all. They are used to manipulate and pressure people into believing false doctrines and performing works of righteousness and usually the speaker hasn’t even STUDIED his Bible or he would know that. “Wouldn’t want to have too much of an open mind where everything falls out… I will just preach it the way it was preached to me.” The problem here is NOT the length of the sermon if it were a true Bible message. I just don’t want to sit for hours hearing lies and stories about the man in the pulpet’s greatness. I would much rather hear the truth of JESUS.

    3. “We preach the whole counsel of the Word of God not just the parts we want to! Itโ€™s not a buffet line!”

      I disagree.

      I’ve never heard an IFB sermon on Ps. 150:4-5 – “Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.” or Deut. 14:26 – “And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household.”

      And somehow most preaching in 30 years in church (prior to my husband’s becoming senior pastor) passages like these were glossed over: Col. 2:16 – “Let no man therefore judge you in food, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.” and Rom. 14:4 “Who are you that judge another man’s servant? to his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand.” and Mt. 25:31-46 about the sheep and the goats based on acts of charity done to the least of these.

      I’ve heard sermons about standards that are clearly extra-Biblical and nothing but a pastor’s preferences. I’ve heard sermons warning Christians about being “too” loving, when the Bible says they will know we are Christians by our love. I’ve heard sermons dismissing the Sermon on the Mount because that was for the kingdom not for us today, actually dismissing the words of Jesus Christ.

      Methinks fundamentalists treat the Bible like a buffet too!

      1. I don’t think they treat the Bible like a buffet. . . It’s more like a sit-down restaurant. They order exactly what they want and they don’t even have to look at anything else. They always know exactly what’s going to be in the sermon before they even open their Bibles.

        1. Yeah this sounds pretty accurate. Some restaurants you’re so familiar with that you order the same things from it all the time, sometimes it’s the spaghetti dinner, other times it’s a club sandwich combo, or the ribs and baked potato. The fundy preacher of a Saturday afternoon sits in his office and thinks, well now, what shall I preach tomorrow? Another sermon with the alliterated Time, Talent and Treasure, or the other alliterated Salvation, Service, Sacrifice, Standards and Soul Winning? ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

    4. Our pastor now is teaching from the book of Jude. I don’t remember ever hearing sermons from Jude before (and I have been in church my whole life, 53 years) It is amazing to me when he talks about the false teachers and the wolves in sheep’s clothing how my mind goes directly to the pastors I have had in the past and it is refreshing to me to have a pastor who will teach the WHOLE Bible, not skipping parts because people might recognize their wolf furr sticking out of their sheep suit.

        1. Sims, while I agree with nearly all that you say, I must take this opportunity to remind you that Judson Mitchell once preached, I guess you would call it, a message from Jude. He totally screwed up the meaning, and it was all wrong, but he did. It was on verse 22.I have no idea who let him into the chapel pulpit. ๐Ÿ™„

        2. Was this when Judson Mitchell was still a preacher boy? I’ve met him before and he preached at my church once he attended a couple of services. He’s kind of odd, but I never got the feel he was some kind of facist like alot of Hyles types are.

        3. And no, not a boy. Wendell Evans’ gopher, till he left HAC for a few years, and Mark Rasmussen supplanted him.

        4. Was he kindof light skinned, light colored (or thinning) hair? I have such a faded memory of that time I barely remember anyone specifically. You have such a good memory I am amazed at how many people you remember, and even what they preached on. It is probably a good thing I wasn’t paying closer attention. Some more of their crappy teaching might have stuck to me than what actually did.

        5. You remember him exactly, from your description. My own memory of him is so vivid because he tried to make me the receiver of his sadism, but I side-stepped him. He never forgave me, until I came back as a faculty member four years later. By that time, he was no longer the Golden Boy, having been replaced, and I was on an equal footing with him. So he just got very friendly, and I just got very distant. Shudder. ๐Ÿ˜ก

    5. I’m fairly certain in the passage to which you refer, Paul preached until midnight because he was leaving the following day. Pretty sure that wasn’t their regularly scheduled service. ๐Ÿ™„

      I THANK GOD DAILY for our new pastor. He studies all week long prepping for his sermons. He uses current references as examples. He keeps his sermons concise. Several people have encouraged him to preach longer if he needs to finish his sermon, because he is trying to be conscious of the time.

      He is currently preaching through Galatians. He made it clear that anyone who adds to the gospel – whether it be doctrine or standards or tradition. And he NAMED some of the things legalistic Christians add.

      I think our pastor realizes that our last pastor enjoyed bashing us over the head with his huge KJB. We don’t need bashing to get us through the day; we need to be fed.

      I hope you’re not a pastor.

      BTW – I am so SICK of people who are proud of their fundy stance. The Pharisees were just as proud of their self-righteousness. Newsflash – God isn’t a Baptist. I would rather be a Christ-follower forever! I don’t need to be a fundy or even a Baptist to follow Him.

      1. When Paul preached until midnight, it was probably worth sticking around for.
        But I still think people got up to use the outhouse (or whatever they had there), stretch their legs, have a snack, quiet crying babies, put another log on the fire, and so forth.

    6. Paul didn’t have menstrual cramps and didn’t need to get back to Manhattan before the Giants play at 1. Speed it up, preacher man.

    7. Put me down as one who has no problem with long sermons. Except when the preacher has nothing to say that is remotely connected to God’s word. I can’t say how many times I have heard ‘This is gonna be our jumping off point/launching pad/[insert bad metaphor here]’ followed by 30-50 minutes of opinion at best, drivel at worst. (PS this is not a solely fundy phenomenon, but if the shoe fits…)

      1. I do not think I would have a problem with long sermons, but I have never ever heard one that was truly expository. In fact, at the ripe old age of 53, and having been in church since age 16, hearing one like that NOW would truly be novel. I have heard excellent SHORT sermons that were truly Scripture-based, but never a long one. Long ones were always windbags gassing about their personal opinions. ๐Ÿ™„

      2. I have good fundy sermons that were long. As in look at the clock and go ‘It’s that late!’ long. And they were even topical.

        But I have to say they were the exception. And unfortunately, the pastor became more fundy as the years went by, and started picking the the typical rants.

        I miss the days of 20+ verses read, 90 minute sermons, and everything new. Most of it Biblical, and the traditions just referred to, not preached on.

        I was a single man with no children. That made it a lot easier to enjoy the sermon. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Of course not. That might mean someone takes what they would’ve given for the pastor’s trip to Hawaii and gives it to a struggling family in the church. We can’t have that now can we? ๐Ÿ™„

        1. HAY-MAN!!! Of course that trip to Hawaii was what solidified it for us that we had to leave. So PRAISE GOD for sending the pastor to Hawaii while his staff members and their kids starved. HALLELUJAH!

    8. Others have said it, but I will go ahead too.
      I don’t think Darrell is making fun of long sermons, but rather long sermons that have no real substance. And I think others were pointing out that they have experienced the same thing.
      I’m sorry, I have better things to do with my time then listen to a man preach his own words while reading only one verse out of the Bible and then completely ignoring it, or taking it totally out of context.

    9. I am referring to the whole “FundamentalistForever” post above….its tongue in cheek right? No body really is saying this are they??

    10. FF – I could no longer stand graceless, man-centered, unbiblical, watered down preaching. That is a primary reason I left the Independent Fundamental Baptist church.

  13. You forgot the last-minute Holy Spirit-prompted text-change.

    “I had a sermon prepared (Suuuurrre) but this morning the Holy Spirit prompted me to preach from Romans 13:1, A-GAIN.” ๐Ÿ™„

    1. One of the few advantages of going to a pentecostal church is that when the pastor doesn’t feel like putting together a message, he can just say, “I feel a spirit of worship here! The Lord is telling us to keep worshiping him!” and let the worship team go for another 45 minutes and let everyone dance in the aisles. Or, he might go with, “I had a word prepared, but right now God is just telling me to forget that word and just pray for everyone. I sense a spirit of prayer. Let’s pray for each other!”

        1. Advantage for the pastor maybe, but as an ex-pentecostal I would rather have had the chance to zone out during a sermon than have to participate or be seen not to participate in lively worship etc.

      1. I cannot begin to guess how many times I have heard members say: “We had a great service this morning–the pastor didn’t get to preach.” So it is not only Pente pastors that like this kind of going on. Many of them probably enjoy the chance to avoid one of their pastor’s “messages” for at least one service.

        I had a friend who pastored, when he didn’t “feel led” to preach, he had one woman he would call on to sing a special. She was his Guaranteed Shouting Service Starter.

    2. The elderly senior pastor at our former church preached a sermon on Hebrews 4:14-16 no fewer than six times. It could be more, as we stopped keeping track after that. He also preached a sermon about the different crowns we’d get in Heaven three separate times. Same sermons, nearly word for word every time. He was very elderly and (we think) experiencing some dementia, but who was going to correct him? He was the anointed one. ๐Ÿ™„

  14. I visited a church once (not fundy) where the pastor didn’t have a lot to say, so he draggedddddd outtttt theeeee enddddd offffff evereeeeey worddddddd. He would drag out the ‘S’ in words for exssssstra sssssecondsssssss. It was funny, sad, and tortuous all at the same time.

    1. After a few minutes of that I’d be wanting to pull my hair out and scream, “Ssssttoooooppppppp Thaaaaaaattttttt!” ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  15. I’ve heard this illustration 3 times in the past year by 2 different pastors and one woman leading a “ladies meeting”. Let’s see who else has heard it. Usually prefaced with “my grandfather or father taught me”. One pastor said, “I think my father told me this” and I chuckled since it’s more likely he heard it in a sermon illustration.

    “The Christian life is like plowing a field. When you are on the tractor you don’t look down or behind to keep on course but you pick a point in the distance to focus on so that you make straight rows. ”

    Christ’s finished work is not the object they usually tell you to fix your eyes on but YOUR desire to “finish well”.

    1. I also have heard that illustration. Thinking back, I don’t remember WHAT it was we were supposed to be focusing on. I don’t think it was Jesus though. Maybe. Probably not.

    2. I heard that years ago from……drumroll please….my dad. He said he learned it from his dad who grew up on a farm plowing with a mule.
      The thing about that illustration is that it is possible that people might come up with it independently from each other.

      1. I totally agree that people could come up with this from their own experience. It was actually the guy who couldn’t remember if it was his father who’d shared this with him that made me think about it. Also, these 3 run in the same circles and the illustration was practically verbatim. This one is fun because it sounds really earthy and humanizes the person telling it. But I’m not sure that it’s the best metaphor for “the Christian life”.
        We always have to improve on what’s in Scripture and have our own anecdotes. Can people question your anecdote? It’s probably better to stick with Scripture. Paul gave some illustrations of the Christian life, why can’t they just use those? Why this one?

        1. “We always have to improve on whatโ€™s in Scripture and have our own anecdotes. Can people question your anecdote? Itโ€™s probably better to stick with Scripture. Paul gave some illustrations of the Christian life, why canโ€™t they just use those? Why this one?”

          I agree completely.

          In addition, if those three people are close to each other I would agree that it sounds like a case of them copying each other rather than independent invention. Especially if they have no farming experience.

    3. I’m pretty citified, and I’ve never ploughed a field, but I drive cars and I push lawnmowers, and in both of those activities, I have to look into the distance, to see where I’m going, AND look at the ground in front of me, to see what I’m about to run over.

      I doubt that tractor-driving is an exception to this rule.

      1. My experience trying this with a riding mower is that it makes them a little straighter but not much. Still had problems not developing an angle over several passes. Maybe its just me…

  16. Or, you can take a word (laugh would work) and find every verse where that word is mentioned (in the Holy KJV of course)as Step One. Then continue on with steps two and following

  17. At my former church, the average Sunday morning service was rarely less than 2 hours. The weekly High Mass at my Catholic church (complete with altar boys/girls, incense, scripture reading, homily, Communion, etc.) only lasts about 1.5 hours. And most of it’s done in Latin!

  18. The only thing missing was the three point alliterated outline which I have provided.

    They laugh and scorn us for the

    1. Strictness of our Walk–we live right and they don’t like it.
    2. Straightness of our Talk–we preach the Word and they don’t like it.
    3. Sternness of our Balk–we protest their evil and they don’t like it.

  19. At our gatherings, we don’t have one person “preach” at us. We do have someone who prepares and leads, but there is interaction and we learn from each other. We usually meet for 2-2 1/2 hours and the time flies by.
    We do get up and get more coffee or use the facilities from time to time. :mrgreen:

  20. When I took a “Pastoral Leadership” course at TTU, the teacher (one of the pastors at HP, now deceased) actually encouraged “borrowing” (correct term would be plagiarizing) sermons printed in the SOL if you didn’t have time to prepare (due to out of town meetings and other essentials).

  21. There is a BIG problem with Step 1. It should be Step 2. Step 1 for a fundy is select a topic. Step 2 is select a text.

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