The core of today’s pastoral duties, at least in the mind of congregations, is the ability to deliver a great message on Sunday morning (and sometimes Sunday evening). Anybody, with enough time to study and prepare, can open up a Bible, choose a passage, and research commentaries, historical documents, and other passages related to that passage. Anybody can write a sermon and read it from their paper, but that’s not how preaching comes alive.
Preaching a sermon that everyone will remember is much harder than it sounds. First, your congregation is filled with all types of different people. People whose thinking patterns are different. People who remember things differently. People whose attention is captured in different ways, and your job is to hold all their attention for half an hour or more. Not only that, you’re expected to leave them with something that they can remember and reflect on during the week ahead.
Now, unless you’re the pope and people come from all over the world just to see you speak, chances are that you need more than just your winning personality and debonaire looks to keep people’s attention that long. That’s why Christian Leaders Institute offers all students who are interested in leadership positions the class Sermon Construction and Presentation.
In Sermon Construction and Presentation, students learn various techniques that will help ensure that their preaching comes alive for their congregations. These techniques include everything from exposition to illustration. Below is a reflection from a student who took this course and got a lot out of it.
Friday James Reflects on How Preaching Comes Alive
This is indeed a “wow!” course; there was never a dull moment in the lessons and, each lesson always gets better and beats the imagination.
It is amazing the amount of resources pulled together in this course just to help one understand sermon construction and presentation. So rich and impactful are the resources employed in delivering the most outstanding course on the subject in every facet imaginable: standout communication analysts, priceless articles, blogs and outlines, pace-setting and accomplished preachers and an excellent packaging.
Indeed I can’t imagine a better content on the subject of sermon construction and presentation anywhere else. This class had not only strengthened my preaching but had made and released a preacher in me that I have never known or imagined.
It is amazing how much I have learnt on the basics of communication at no cost: Karen Friedman and Andrew Bryant are the best: it is unbelievable the amount of valuable information they pass in just two to four minutes of video presentation. “Nix the Jargon and Trim the fat” are now engrafted in me and all thanks to Karen Friedman. Each time I remember Andrew Bryant, I remember “Intentionality and Persuasive Presentation”. Whenever I pick my keys, I just remember Kirbyjon Caldwell and wherever I hear a quote, I remember Ravi Zacharias.
When I think of sermon introductions, I instantly see Francis Chan clinging to a beam and throwing a dollar bill. Whenever I think of effective illustrations in preaching the name Eric Mckiddie shows up, whenever I think of a father I remember Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Daniel Akin, to me became synonymous with sermon outlining. Interestingly, one person I would consider a ghost is Henry Reyenga: even when he’s not the one presenting, I see him in everyone and in everything.
Frankly, it will be difficult for me to itemize what I have learnt in this course for it would then mean writing out every lesson line by line as they were written or delivered. However, one thing I can say very confidently is that I have met preachers whose grace and wisdom had rubbed off on me very profoundly.
As per action plans, I have never had as much passion for every sermon. My attitude towards sermon preparation and presentation is totally changed for the better. I now have a plan for my sermon development which I now see as a delightful obligation.
Each sermon segment is now receiving the desired attention and no one segment now suffers at the expense of another; for sure, i am now able to balance my content much better than ever.
I am now a better manager of time and am better able to communicate consistently with the majority of any given audience.
Beyond learning the basis of communication, beyond studying how to prepare sermons and preach them, beyond watching a variety of preachers and teachers in action, I have learnt why and how to become many things to various target congregation or audience at different times in my life and sermons.
I am indebted to the entire staff of CLI and particularly professor Henry Reyenga for the privilege of going through this life changing course- thank you so very much.