1. Preachers Book group
its not just younger preachers that need to improve, old dogs can benefit from preaching refreshment too. A good way to encourage constructive discussion is to get your preachers to read a book together and discuss it. I would suggest giving yourselves 4-6 weeks to read a book (any shorter and its a rush, any longer and you’ll forget what you have read). Great books to start with are:
Another option is to read a book over a whole term, but meet more regularly to review a couple of chapters together. There’s more ideas for books here. Why not think about getting a bunch of preachers together for a book group either in your church or gathering preachers from across your town.
Pairing up two preachers to work on a Bible text together and then preach the sermon as a team effort. You can pair more experienced preachers with developing preachers. Working in a pair is a great way to force preachers to speak out their sermon before they give it and get feedback from their preaching partner. Also by getting half the time they would normally get to preach it forces experienced preachers out of their comfort zones and forces them to be more concise and collaborative.
3. Create A culture of encouragement
Preaching can be lonely, especially because everyone in the congregation seems to have a different view about what good preaching looks and sounds like. Helping a congregation to think about encouragement is good for everyone, but especially good for the preachers. Chances are that if you tell me I have done something well, I will try and do that again next time. We can reform our preachers with lots and lots of encouragement.
4. Review Recordings
Many churches record their sermons, but very few people actually listen to them. Lets make use of the recordings to review how we got on. Be careful how quickly you do it – give the preachers some breathing space and then take a listen to the mp3 again and provide some constructive feedback.
5. Preparing in community
Preaching systematically through a book of the Bible is really helpful for a congregation so they get to experience the flow and beauty of a whole book of the Bible. We had a good time recently as a team of preachers working through the book of Malachi over 6 weeks. There was very strong feedback from our church that Malachi had been a very good series. Some said it was the best teaching series our church has done so far. There were a number of factors that explained the feedback :
- A relatively short series- people could hold in their memories each of the 6 messages.
- Exploring an OT book many people don’t know very well
- Continuity – because the preachers met together to scope out the book and work on difficult passages and ideas together.
- Tying house group materials strongly with the Bible passages preached on
I think point three is crucial. It meant that we could talk about our struggles and difficulties, share good resources and good ideas.
6. Go on a conference together
Some of us preachers are quite difficult to train and so the direct approach of critiquing each other is difficult. But going to a conference together and learning about preaching gives us another form of input that is less confrontational. There are number of Biblefresh preaching days and conferences coming up – book a bunch of places together.
7. Listen to great preaching together
If a reading group sounds like hard work – why not download some free sermons from itunes and then pledge to listen to them over the week and meet to discuss what struck you about the content, style, structure of the sermons.
8. Check out Online resources
There are some great online videos recorded at the biblefresh preaching day:
9. Share your powerpoints
Scribd is a great way to share your powerpoint presentations from sermons. You’ll get some good ideas from what other people are doing other there in cyberspace.
10. Read blogs and comment
I hope this blog post was helpful to you. I’d love to hear your comments and ideas for helping preaching to develop across the UK.