We all have heard the preacher who preaches without notes by stating everything that comes to her or his mind. You know what I mean, the preacher grabs and articulates everything. I mean everything that occurs to the preacher.

A whole ago, I heard a sermon that was just like this. The preacher had highs and lows. The preacher made some profound points. But the points had no relation to each other. Then the preacher sat down in a whimper.

At the end of a sermon like this, it is very difficult to remember either the individual points or the main point of the sermon. You can imagine what went wrong. There is no main point and thus the people remember no main point! So how do we fix this?

Glad you asked, here are four points to help you fix this problem.

  1. Sermons with or without notes should have a strong “gospel claim.” What are you saying about the good news of the Kingdom in your sermon? If you are not clear in your claim it will be difficult to be clear about what to put in your sermon.
  2. Sermons with or without notes should have a point informed and infused by that gospel claim! By that I mean at least one point and no more than one point. Well OK …if you want more than one point go ahead but make sure that they are related to each other so that they don’t obliterate each other. I fear that sometimes our 5 point masterpieces are either entirely forgotten or only 1 or 2 of the points are remembered.
  3. Sermons with or without notes should precede logically to a conclusion. And in the Black tradition that conclusion a lot of the time it will be a celebrative conclusion. I recognize that there may be some disagreement here. But I think usually if you are not headed towards a culmination people will know it at least subconsciously, and will begin to pay less attention to your message. Save your strongest point for the end, don’t end in a whimper.
  4. Sermons with or without notes should eliminate irrelevant asides. By irrelevant, I mean that they are not connected to your sermon’s main point.

Don’t jump from thought to though without any rhyme or reason. Preaching Without Notes is not a brain dump. Put your sermon together as you would if you had a manuscript. Be open to the Spirit’s leading. Follow the text. And ultimately, allow that Biblical truth to come through you to the people.

4 thoughts on “Preaching Without Notes is not a Brain Dump

  1. Sylvester Warsaw, Jr. says:

    Greetings, Elder Cox,

    People who come to hear a Word from the Lord can instantly tell if God’s messenger is prepared. They know if God’s messenger has spent time in prayer seeking God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding as they not only wrestled with the text but brought the concerns of God’s people before Him. Preaching isn’t about what we think whether we preach from notes or not. Preaching is a Divine Utterance influenced by the Holy Spirit speaking through earthen vessels of clay to earthen vessels of clay that speaks to the heart. Whether God’s messenger uses notes or not the question is have you spent time before Him bringing the concerns of the people to Him as you wrestled with the text listening to His voice speak to your heart that which He has for His people.

  2. Brian Sellmon says:

    Preaching without notes ABSOLUTELY does not mean preaching without study and preparation, and it sounds like that’s what happened in this case…I pray he learned from it…

  3. Charles Joseph says:

    We should always strive to give a clear point from God’s word. faith focused living is not a ramdom act but a purposed long walk.The shephard should be ready and willing at all times to relay the point of what God is speaking to him or her in study. notes or not as voices of God we should see ourselves from the perspective of, “would you follow God if he could not make a point” or his message is convoluted.
    in either case; 1 Corinthians 14:33
    King James Version (KJV)
    33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
    Notes or Not.. please seek God for the point of standing before the people and claiming to preach.

  4. These two statements say it all:

    “We all have heard the preacher who preaches without notes by stating everything that comes to her or his mind”


    “Be open to the Spirit’s leading. Follow the text.”

    Great article Bro

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.