Design for a Sermon
A sermon should be like tree.
It should be a living organism:
With one study thought like a single stem
With natural limbs reaching up into the light.
It should have deep roots:
As much unseen as above the surface
Roots spreading as widely as its branches spread
Roots deep underground
In the soil of life’s struggle
In the subsoil of the eternal Word.
It should show nothing but its own unfolding parts:
Branches that thrust out by the force of its inner life
Sentences like leaves native to this very spray
True to the species
Not taken from alien growths
Illustrations like blossoms opening from
inside these very twigs
Not brightly coloured kites
Pulled from the wind of somebody else’s thought
Entangled in these branches.
It should bear flowers and fruit at the
same time like the orange:
Having something for food
For immediate nourishment
Having something for delight
For present beauty and fragrance
For the joy of hope
For the harvest of a distant day.
To be all this it must grow in a warm climate:
In loam enriched by death
In love like the all-seeing and all-cherishing sun
In trust like the sleep-sheltering night
In pity like the rain.
Chapter 12 Composing to Persuade – The Practice of Preaching by Paul Scott Wilson p223-4
The purpose of a good sermon
First: a good sermon will hold my interest, teach me something new or provide a different perspective or twist of insight into something I know, encourage or convict me to actually live out my faith.
Second: that is really educational about Faith, scripture, and practical application to the real world.
Third: when I either hear or learn something (about God and Jesus), and motivated to act out my faith, or when I’m encouraged. The purpose is to preach the Gospel and to edify the church.
Fourth: Sermons engage me when it’s clear that the preacher has some understanding (need not be exhaustive) of what is being conveyed. There needs to be a flow of ideas and circular statements: please, take me somewhere!
Fifth: There needs to be more spontaneity, honesty, conversing. In essence, a sermon needs to be memorable and inspiring beyond the time it takes to shake the preacher’s hand and say ‘nice job.’
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