Preparing for Preaching



One of the great privileges of my life is the ministry of the pulpit.  My understanding of preaching can be found in the words of prayer with which I begin each opportunity to preach: “Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be Your words from Your heart to these Your people.  In Jesus name, amen.”

I do not presume to teach all there is to know about homiletics in a brief article, but permit me six summarizing ideas for preparing to preach.

1. Be who you are, not an imitation of another.  One of the Princes of the Pulpit in the 20th century, Philips Brooks described preaching as “communication of truth through personality.” Every preacher is a person, a unique masterpiece in itself created by God. (Ephesians 2.10) Some of us make the mistake being a different person in the pulpit than we are in real life.  Authenticity is essential to the receptivity of your listener. Be who you are.

A side note.  In our busy world today, many of us resort to preaching services to help.  Resist the urge to preach someone else’s sermon. Learn from them–get ideas for outlines, interpretations and illustrations but do work of connecting with the text yourself.

2. Start with the text.  It is the Word of God rhat people need, not your opinion–however, enlightened it may be. Plus you are God’s spokesman.  Don’t make Him look bad.

3.  Prepare with your audience in mind. This includes, of course, identifying how best to communicate to your particular audience.

4.  Don’t try to preach the whole gospel in one message. Depending on your congregation you have 20-30 minutes at best.  Plus, people are often overwhelmed by “information overload.”

5.   Remember the takeaway. Information without application is merely an intellectual enterprise.  Preaching the Gospel has as its aim life transformation.

6.  Bathe the whole process in prayer.

What do you think? What would you add to this list?

© 2016 by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to For all other uses, contact Steve at 

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