Prophet Amos Picture example of Transformative Sermons
The Prophet Amos
Great preaching has in mind not merely inspiration, but the preaching of transformative sermons. We do not desire to make people who merely know more of the Bible, although that is important and should be emphasized. We definitely do not desire simply to make people shout, although that may be the unavoidable conclusion of our much powerful preaching. No we seek transformation through sermons that call for transformation.

Preacher Not Orator Or Lecturer

Preachers do not simply perform our written orations with great oratorical skill. We all have heard preachers with all the skills of great orators, but something in missing. The people shout, but there is something missing. The people are happy and sometimes feel as though this is an important component of the African American tradition. They love to hear the preacher and they may even understand the moment as merely something to enjoy as folk art. the worship service is nothing more than a show for this individual hearer and the hearer may not be changed. No we need transformative sermons.

Then there are the Bible lecturers who leave the people with a book full of notes. The people may know great things about Israel. They may know esoteric facts about Melchizedek and Revelation’s prophecies. However, great preaching is not merely about knowing more facts. It is about turning the page and becoming a transformed follower of the almighty power of God.

Holy Ghost Needed In Transformative Sermons

But here is the key, there are those preachers who may not have the eloquence of some of the “princes of the pulpit.” They may not have all the theological and biblical knowledge of some of those who turn the pulpit into a classroom, but they know something about the Most High God. They know something about the Spirit. They can sing with the slaves “I know I’ve been changed, angels in heaven done changed my name.”

How do they do this? There are two things I want to emphasize here. First, I want to emphasize the importance of a vital and growing connection to God through the enlightenment of the holy Ghost. The preacher needs to know the holy Ghost and needs to be connected to the third person of the Godhead. Don’t fall into the trap of attempting to preach in your own power. Negros may shout, or maybe they will be informed, or maybe both, but will they be changed by a transformative sermon?

Preacher Must Be Changed By Transformative Sermon

To ensure transformational preaching, the preacher must have such a message that calls the preacher first of all to be changed. Stop only preaching about how someone else needs to get better…Have you ever preached in such a way that you have been convicted of your own sins and shortcomings? If not, you might see that your people have not either. so first, we need a vital connection to the Spirit. Next we need messages that touch our own hearts before we preach them.

Finally, if we are seeking to preach transformative sermons, then we need to make a scary and error prone move. We must have the audacity to move from what God did in the past tense, to what God is doing. Yes, we might say the wrong thing. Yes we might get it wrong from time to time, but there is much preaching that never says what God is doing today. If you want to preach a transformative sermon then you must first of all understand what the text said and what God did, but move from there to having the audacity to say what God is doing today, in your context, at your congregation.

Contemporary God In Transformative Sermons

There is a piety that leaves God in the book but does not allow God into the present. Does God today work with the weak and the hurting? Does God today, help us overcome the sins that bind us? Does God today attack structures of inequality and evil? Does God today stand with the hungry? That is the move that we are to make if we are to preach transformative sermons.

So let us seek that connection to the Holy Ghost. Let us preach messages that call for transformation and change in us as well as our people. and finally, let us have the audacity to name God and God’s work in our present circumstances. Then we will be preaching not as a “bible lecturer” or as a “orator,” but as a “prophet.” As a prophet, we will preach transformative sermons!

14 thoughts on “How to Preach Transformative Sermons

  1. Jimmy Stanfield says:

    “First, I want to emphasize the importance of a vital and growing connection to God through the enlightenment of the holy Ghost. The preacher needs to know the holy Ghost and needs to be connected to the third person of the Godhead. Don’t fall into the trap of attempting to preach in your own power. Negros may shout, or maybe they will be informed, or maybe both, but will they be changed by a transformative sermon?”

    Great point! I have seen preachers who think that a move of the Holy Ghost is just working the crowd up into a state of excitement. God’s Spirit will manifest himself in that way sometimes, I love aisle running pew jumping services, but many times the Holy Ghost will fall upon a congregation manifesting himself in their tears and repentance and restoration.

    In the tradition I grew up in the preachers have a saying “Too much flesh in the pulpit.” Meaning that we are attempting to preach in our own power, to move the congregation by our own devices. When that would happen and the preacher recognized he was doing it the solution was to go on a fast with a time of Bible study and prayer. I think this is still good advice.

  2. Jimmy Stanfield says:

    I should also add that every preacher needs to take some time to sow before they can reap. We need to sow God’s word into our spirits prayerfully and seeking his power in our preaching. If you don’t do any sowing, you can’t expect to do much reaping!

  3. Rev. Cox & Mr. Stanfield you both make great points. I would take it a step further at some point we as lay people have to reach a level of connection with the Holy Spirit as does the preacher. So many Christians are frustrated today because of the whooping and shouting but still leaving with no substance.

    May your word reach the masses to help transform great men & women so they can begin to transform people with the word of the Lord.


  4. Rev. J.I. Harris says:

    My brothers, I agree with all that has been said. I would like to punctuate what’s been said by adding that while “faith comes by hearing” the Word of God, transformation comes only when the Spirit-empowered Word moves us to change our mindset and our behavior to align with the Word. Transformational sermons must not only initiate our personal change, but lead to our Spirit-filled empowerment to change our environment. Celebration triggered by musical inflections feed the flesh. But when the Word moves us to celebration, such movement ushers in transformation that leads us into a fuller salvation experience.

  5. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    Fellow Preachers,

    I cannot help but emphasize how much I am loving this conversation on this post. Thanks for contributing to the discussion…

  6. Jimmy Stanfield says:

    I agree with that Brother Cox! Great comments from preachers and non-preachers alike make this site such a blessing for me.

  7. As for me, preaching should not only be for transformation but for conversion of unbelievers as well. God bless!

  8. Rev T. Shelton says:

    Very informative posting. We might wonder sometime why Brother or Sister So-In-So has that blank look in their eyes. I think you just answered that question. If the person preaching the message is not aligned with the Spirit, well…
    Bless you!

  9. Bless you Man of God: As always I am certainly blessed by this post. I am so grateful as the information is needed has helped me tremendously. Please continue to do what you do for all of us.

  10. Vernetia Miller says:

    Sometimes when I listen to sermons, and when I work on my own, I wonder what is missing. The transformational element! Whether a believer or an unbeliever, transformation is key and Holy Ghost is so often overlooked as part of our spiritual growth process. He has been blamed for so many bad sermons, when in truth the preachers were so full of flesh instead. Thank you for this article and the discussion which ensued.

  11. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    That is the key…”whether unbeliever or believer, transformation is the key.” You have summed up a comment I wanted to make but couldn’t articulate for some reason. To the unbeliever we seek transformation which means “conversion.” For the believer we are seeking transformation which means “just a closer walk with thee…”

    thanks for your comment…

  12. Elder C. Anderosn says:

    Well written…The late Great C.L. Franklin stated “Preaching is making Gods Word relevant to life today” from ledge to ledge the bibles historical writings are wonderful all by themselves but as preachers of the GOOD NEWS must must find away to make Moses “basket case” situation relevant to Life today. GOD BLESS

  13. Frederick D. Harris says:

    Good article. I beleive in Soul Preaching #1, Rev. Cox you mention putting skin and faces on “Them Bones.”

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