“That’s a beautiful picture son” and other lies you’ve heard

So you’re fresh out of seminary or you’re about to finish and soon you will find yourself preaching week in and week out. Your first series may take off because after all you’ve already taught it to a small group Bible study with the youth or something like that. Maybe your first series is the “fruit” of an exegetical project you were proud of so now all you have to do is polish the apples and that series will fly . . . right? Listen to the advice of Russell Moore:

Young preachers, your first few sermons are always terrible, no matter who you are. If you think your first few sermons are great, you’re probably self-deceived. If the folks in your home church think your first few sermons are great, it’s probably because they love you and they’re proud of you. If it’s a good, supportive church there’s as much objectivity there as a grandparent evaluating the “I Love You Grandma” artwork handed to them by the five year-old in their family. So your first set of sermons, unless you’re very atypical, are probably really, really bad. So what?

Read the rest of his “Two Cheers for Bad Preaching” here.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. A very helpful post indeed. Here are my follow up questions and thoughts:

    The problem is that very few seminaries, let alone congregations, really understand what “biblical preaching” is. How do i know that? Just listen to the podcasts of the local pastors in your home town. Most “evangelical” churches want teaching that is biblical in name but not true biblical exposition and certainly not expository preaching that is exegetical and deep. If my assertion is true you probably won’t recieve much help from your local church (unless you minister to a spiritually mature congregation). I will expand on this thought more if necessary but for time sake allow me to move on.

    Very few seminary professors or even a pastor’s ‘pastor friends’ have time to listen to 4 or 5 sermons to help offer a thoughtful review. So who can preachers turn to for this type of help?

    I suspect many preachers pray for humility to honestly critique themselves. I critique myself by listening to a variety of “great” preachers (always a humbling experience). I critique myself by reading great books on preaching (always a humbling experience). I critique myself by listening to some of my sermons (a humbling experience); Of course every time i study Scripture i ask God’s Spirit to do His work in my heart and life (always a humbling experience).

    I am blessed to have a wife who is very mature in her walk with Christ. Her MA in counseling doesn’t hurt either… She is often the best helper I have.

    Your thoughts on this?

  2. Posted by James Sizemore on November 3, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Your being generous to limit it to just “your first set of sermons”:)

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