Jamaica Preaching Course – Reflection by Johnis Burton

Jamaica Preaching Course

Johnis Burton is  student from Jamaica taking preaching at Christian Leaders Institute. This Jamaica preaching course ends with a reflection what he learned. This is his reflection:

The weeks of training in different skills areas and the formulation of sermons have brought a whole new rage of concepts and ideas to mind. The art of constructing a proper sermon is dependent on the individual for one, the type of people that we are target to get the message across and the varieties of format style that can be used to present the message. The information presented in this class have open new avenue to something that I have never done before and so all the knowledge that I have gathered have become useful for future reference.

I have learnt the different types of sermon that are available and how they are used depending on your audience or your preference. These different type of sermons approach ranges from topical, exegetical, expository, testimonial etc. I have also grasped the idea that Jesus’ ministry was one in which His parching style uses illustrations and stories to reach and appeal to the mind of the wider sect.  This is a form of preaching that may appeal to people who sees and remember thing by such means.  Examples of this preaching style was demonstrated if further weeks using power points to drive the message home.

An effective sermon presents a problem and gives solution that will help. When the audience see that there is a problem and a solution is forth coming they will listen to the end of the entire sermon. Sermon construction teaches how to introduce a problem to your audience who might not even have a problem until you present one. People who go to church go there to find spiritual guidance or for a peace of mind. They are searching for love and a sort of carefree comfort that will allow them to forget about the care of the world at least for a few hours.  And so presenting them with a problem (may be theirs) will help them to see that through God all things are possible. The elements that can help to introduce a problem are: The fallen condition focus; an illustration that makes you audience feel the fallen condition; the propositional statement. With these three key elements the preacher can set the stage for the sermon and in doing so may help someone who is in desperate need of a word. As the weeks progresses I started to understand more to the point that preaching takes more than meet the eyes. Preaching and sermon construction is something that take focus on our part and the intervention of the Holy Spirit to write and deliver the message but most of all the Holy Spirit have to open the hearts of the audience to receive the message. This is where prayer, fasting, and the skills associated with speaking techniques comes into play. CLI does a great job by incorporate this method into almost each class to help learner to understand the importance of speaking when presenting a sermon. Even though it can be used in whatever speaking occasion may arise. The speaking and presentation techniques that Karen Friedman and Andrew Bryant presents was clear cut and brought new insight to how a presentation should be done in order to capture and engage your listeners.

Jamaica Preaching Course Video Reflections

There was one video presentation by John Piper that spoke to me as he dealt with the outlines of what Expository Exultation is and how to use them effectively. According to Piper the aim of this exposition is to help you eat and digest biblical truth that will:

  • make your spiritual bones more like steel
  • double the capacity of your spiritual lungs
  • make the eyes of your heart dazzled with the brightness of the glory of God
  • and awaken the capacity of your soul for kinds of spiritual enjoyment you don’t even know existed.

There were a few other videos that showed parching style along with sermon format. One such was the preaching style that made it seems like one is singing (whooping). Funny enough I have heard it before but didn’t know what it really was. The bottom line though of all this is that it is suggesting that it not necessarily about the styles of preaching but the individual bringing the message. The focus is not of the man that gives the message but from who the message is originated – which is God.

It then dawned on me that this (sermon construction) takes more work than I thought. In the first place there is a level of thought that have to be put in to come up with what sermon is to be preached on Sunday. Not a sermon with the frills and cosmetic touches that is beautiful and no effect but one directed by the word of God that will ministers to the hearts of the hearers. The next step is to begin the sermon. According to Henry Reyenga to begin a sermon one must adhere to these three simple guidelines: The word of God; Does the message come out of the truth of your own walk? Is it true to you? With these simple guideline one can begin to formulate a sermon that for the most part be a testimony of your life or in my case my life. The message must be taken by you/me before it can be taken by others. I have realized that people identify with someone when they have been there or down that path. Do you believe what you are preaching or saying? Have you even been to the doctors and he/she proscribes medication for you in hopes that you would take it according to the correct dosages? If yes I believe then that is how a pastor should minister to his/her congregation who for the most part be spiritual sick and need a dose of spiritual Madison.

The anticipation of constructing a sermon got heighten as I begin to grasp the concepts needed to set a foundation of a well-organized sermon. There was more to learn and it would take the commitment of a child of God to venture in to that aspect of kingdom building. The type of kingdom building that would need keys to making a good sermon. Professor Michael Regness gave seven essential keys to a good sermon. These keys are:

  1. A good sermon engages the biblical text
  2. A good sermon proclaimed the gospel
  3. A good sermon connects God’s word to the lives of God’s people
  4. A good sermon is well organized and easy to understand
  5. A good sermon engages the imagination of the hearer
  6. A good sermon is delivered well
  7. A good sermon orients hearers to life in God’s world

These keys make a sort of personal connection between speaker and listeners. That sort of delivery that make the listener feel like they are the one God is speaking to (in most case whether good or bad) yet is speaks and appeals to all who listens.

This class even though challenging gave me a new perspective. The learning outcome was appropriately design to capture my creativity and intellectual engagement towards the different methods and skills needed to construct a great sermon.

Whether you are in Jamaica or somewhere else, enroll at CLI.  After you take the getting started class you can enroll in this preaching course.