Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One Nail

Even though I have been preaching for a little more than forty-two years, I still find myself drawn to reading what other folks are saying about preaching.  Sometimes I get the notion I could write my own book on the subject, but it is much easier to find others sounding some of the themes I would sound were I writing such a book.  This recently happened as  the author I was reading wrote, "Sermons should be about one main concept...the preacher should pound only one nail in a sermon, never two or three.  Every point in the outline should help pound the big nail."  My preaching book would have this "one nail" image, too.
While I have not heard a lot of others preach, I know my own preaching style has evolved over the decades of preaching.  I have always figured this was true of others as well.  The way I preached in the beginning of my ministry is nothing like these sermons I preach closer toward the end.  I came out of seminary preaching three point sermons which always in a laborious manner let the listener know each of three points.  Somewhere along the journey of preaching, I came to a place where sermons had only one point.  Such is where I am with current preaching.  What has worked best for me is finding one point and driving it home again and again like someone taking a hammer and driving in the nail. 
Of course, there are many preachers and many styles of preaching.  The important thing for all of us who preach is to preach the Word.  No sermon should be a treatise on what the preacher thinks.  As my preaching professor said, "No one is really interested in what you think."  Preaching what the scriptural text is saying is the right goal for all of us who preach whether we write sermons with one point or too many to count.

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