Celebration is an important component of preaching. This is the part of the sermon where the preacher raises up the truth of the sermon to be experienced by the people. There are many ways to do this tactically, but my study of sermons show that a very common technique is for the preacher to “celebrate the sermon.”
It is axiomatic among many to teach that the hearer should guide the topics and content of the sermon and ministry in general. In this model, we go to the people to find out what they want and then give people these things. By doing that we are sure to give relevant ministry, it is argued.
It was not really that long ago when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr dreamed of a better world and then had the audacity to go out and attempt to bring that world into reality. A reality that included a world without racism. A reality that included marching for poor people and workers who were taken advantage of. A reality that included not being invovled in unjust wars.
Today We Celebrate the Movement
Ok, up to this point we have only used the Bible. We have not looked in any Bible commentaries or Bible Dictionaries. Now we want to go to these resources to find out what was going on when the text was written and why the text was written.
To understand the history of the text, we need to answer three questions as completely as possible. The first of these questions is: Who is writing the Text? The second question is: Who is reading the text? The final question is, Why was the text written?
Preaching without notes is not a brain dump.
The Apostle Paul wrote that the Gospel was the Power of God unto Salvation. (Romans 1:16) As I contemplate this scripture, I come to the question, is there power in my sermons? If I am preaching the Gospel, then there must be power in them. Power to break strongholds, the power to change lives, the power to bring salvation to the weak, the power to break addictions, the power to bring good out of evil. The power to change structures of evil.
Telling us What’s Wrong
As a teacher of preachers, I often see many people who want to preach in my life. Look in any congregation and you will find many preachers who have never had a community of believers validate their internal calling. These people sometimes think that preaching is simply about pounding on members with Biblical truth, belly-aching about some wrong, lecturing on a religious subject, or simply getting folks to shout and praise us.
Many of us have had the feeling, is my preaching going anywhere? Or maybe you are thinking, “Haven’t I preached this same sermon last month.” I know exactly where you are coming from. And what you need to do is engage in some sermon planning. In this planning, you should do a few things.