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by Evan Galvez
I had been in the teaching profession in college for more than 10 years already and have been involved until now in ministry, teaching and preaching the Bible. With my experience in preparing my own lecture and sermon notes and using presentation tools, I thought that what this free preaching course called Sermon Construction and Presentation course would offer I already know. I was wrong!
While it may be true that experience is the best teacher, one cannot disregard the learning or training that can be received from a teacher-student learning process such as I had experienced in this free preaching course. I am glad that I took this course seriously just like the other courses I have already taken at CLI despite my experience in preparing and presenting a lecture or sermon.
Personally, one of the important ways that this free preaching course has helped me is that it made me reflect on my past experiences in preaching. In fact, this class many times made me smile in embarrassment and made me think, “Ah, so that‘s what I should’ve done or be doing next time” when I am reminded about a past preaching experience, which I could relate to a specific topic or lesson in this class. It also showed me some flaws in the way I prepare the sermon especially in how to conclude it. In addition, the class made me aware and conscious of my mannerisms when I am already in front of the audience presenting.
The most valuable lesson I found in this free preaching course is in the area where I thought I was weak, which is the conclusion of a sermon. While it may be true that “The old preaching adage reminds us that preaching a sermon without knowing how to end it, is like taking off in a plane you have no idea how to land” according to the introduction of the article How to Write a Sermon Conclusion (eHow), I realized that there is really no plane to land if the plane hasn’t actually taken off. I found that the sermon introduction must be equally important as the sermon conclusion since the sermon conclusion must be written with the introduction in mind. What I thought earlier as my weakness in writing the sermon conclusion is actually a sermon introduction weakness as well. I plan to correct these weaknesses of writing the sermon introduction and conclusion by writing the sermon body first so it becomes the basis of my introduction and conclusion.
Another lesson I found valuable is the use of sermon illustrations. In my experience, I don’t use sermon illustrations intentionally. It just seems to come out when needed while I am presenting the sermon. I never thought of it as something to be intentionally included while preparing or constructing the sermon. But I have learned in this class its importance and that it needs to be planned and included in preparing the sermon. This is an area that I believe I also need to work out. In fact, I plan to go through the Week 7 lesson on Effective Illustrations in Preaching to improve in this area and to start intentionally including illustrations in my scheduled Sunday School preparation and assignment in our church.
I am so blessed by this free preaching course and it is a great learning experience for me. I may have had a lot of experiences standing before an audience to present but this class made me realize a lot of areas I need to improve and grow in order to be effective in performing God’s call in my life in the area of preaching a sermon. What I thought to be automatic or natural like the use of gestures while presenting the sermon has to be planned and thought of according to the different resource persons in Week 6’s session. In fact, it is great to observe and learn directly from observing the different sermon videos how each preacher used their body language in presenting their sermon to the fullest advantage, however, for Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell’s preaching on Matthew 16:13-19, Keep Up With Your Keys, I’m not sure if I could do the same style as he did though personally, it was really great preaching. The preaching videos had exposed me to different styles and techniques of preaching by different preachers and I found each style unique to each preacher. What amazes me is that no matter the style and technique each has used, I am convinced that the message they intended to convey has actually reached their audience because it has reached me as one of the audience watching and listening to them.
The teaching videos of Andrew Bryant and Karen Friedman were especially helpful too since what they taught was not limited specifically to presenting the gospel by preaching alone but is also very useful in general ways of making a presentation.
Finally, as Prof. Henry Reyenga has said that though different preachers may have different styles and that even I myself will develop my own style, I should never forget that the most important thing is the content of the message, which is the Word of God, and the role of the Holy Spirit is working in the heart of the audience listening. Personally, I am reminded of Jesus’ Parable of the Sower where Jesus presented different types of soil, which He used to symbolize the four different types of man’s heart who will receive the gospel. And my prayer to God is that whatever style or technique He may guide me to use in presenting the gospel, He will make the heart of my audience free from hardness, stones, and thorns so that the gospel may not only grow but also bear fruit and multiply.
Editors Note: Existing pastors, enroll at Christian Leaders Institute and gain access free immediately. After you complete the admissions class, you can enroll in this free preaching course. All the classes are free at Christian Leaders Institute. This free preaching course includes many of the best practices of preaching today! There is also another one you can take as well. If you are a new student, rest assured that CLI is free are you will get high-quality ministry training! After you finish your getting started the course, you can take this free preaching course as well as over 90 other classes. Join now.
Many pastors and students cannot believe that a free preaching course or a free ministry training school is not a gimmick. Just enroll and find out for yourself.