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5 Things Preachers Should Stop Doing!


Today’s post is written by Mark Clark. Mark is Senior Pastor of Village Church in Vancouver, a close friend, and co-creator of our course The Art of Better Preaching.

By Mark Clark

I have the great opportunity to not only communicate as part of my job – as a preacher, writer, conference speaker, etc., – but actually help train up preachers and communicators in different settings (church ministry, marketplace leaders, etc.,)

Here are five things I tell them to stop doing!

1. Stop pretending

Authenticity is the new currency of leadership.

So stop pretending. Stop using THAT voice.

You know the one – the preacher voice. False vulnerability. False concern. False ups and downs. Just be you.

Talk and proclaim to people as a real person. Use biblical language certainly but not heightened Christianese that nobody understands – or trusts – anymore.

Be a real person. A bruised reed. A leader with a limp. Not the hero of the story.

Be a real person. A bruised reed. A leader with a limp. Not the hero of the story. – @markaclark Click To Tweet

2. Stop being content-weak

Be theologically informed. Call people to think and feel on a deeper level.

There is a huge amount of stuff out there that is saying nothing. Don’t copy that if you are an up-and-comer.

It will scare you into thinking you can’t give people heavy ideas without losing them. It’s not true. You can hold people, but you have to work hard at it.

You know what you do now? The hours you put into writing, reading, and forming that message? You likely have to work even harder than that. And you’ll have to illustrate those heavy concepts in real life for them to land and stick.

3. Stop being boring

The scholars on the blog you read daily may care how many footnotes you have in your sermon or what a good ecclesiological hermeneutic is but most people are trying to pay the bills, hold on to their marriage and understand why God allowed fill in the blank.

Don’t bore them. Inspire them.

Ask why five thousand people followed Jesus out to the middle of nowhere and listened to his vision for their life, and ask whether you could get even a dozen to do the same. If not, why not?

Being theological accurate and yet boring is a kind of sin.

It abandons the reality of the gospel and its effect on our real lives.

Being theological accurate and yet boring is a kind of sin. – @markaclark Click To Tweet

4. Stop wasting precious time

How many times are you sitting there waiting for the preacher to SAY SOMETHING?

Greeting. Intro. Announcements. The passage. What I’m going to say. What I said. Get on with it.

You only have a few minutes every week and eternity is in the balance.

Hi, I’m so and so, open your bibles, here’s what that means! Jesus. Repent. See you next week. Repeat.

5. Stop not trusting the Gospel

I know it sounds like something I should be saying but it’s just true.

The message about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, not just a message about God generically, really is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). The means by which God saves people. More so than your series brand, or marketing ideas.

You want to see people meet Jesus and be saved from sin, death and Hell. How?

He tells us. It isn’t by being forced through some legalistic burden – to read your sermon word for word like you’re giving a paper at a mining conference.

The letter of the law is dead, the spirit of the letter is what brings life.

Nor is it by jumping around, working people’s emotions, trying to control the energy in a room.

Such things create false disciples. Counterfeit conversions.

What’s more tragic than that?

Why bury the gospel under, well, everything else?

The gospel is where the power lies. To change lives. Every week. Without fail. Start doing that. I believe in you!

The gospel is where the power lies. To change lives. Every week. Without fail. – @markaclark Click To Tweet

Looking for Training?

art of better preaching

Ever wish someone could come alongside you to walk you through the finer points of the art of better preaching?

That’s exactly what my good friend Mark Clark and I do in our course, The Art of Better Preaching. We’ve even got a full unit on how to leave your notes behind the next time you give a talk.

Every week, Mark and I preach to thousands of churched and unchurched people, Mark at Village Church in Vancouver BC, and me at Connexus Church north of Toronto. We have very different styles, which means this course is not a preach-just-like-me approach to preaching.

You can customize it to help you preach better messages, and it draws from the rich tradition of different approaches that actually connect with unchurched people. Plus, we share our best secrets on how to craft the best messages we know how to create.

In the course, Mark and I cover:

The Why and How of Preaching
How to Preach to the Unchurched
How to Give a Talk Without Using Notes
How to Craft a Killer Bottom Line So People Remember Your Talk Years Later
How to Stay Fresh over the Long Haul

And much more.

We’re so excited to help you become the best communicator you can be.

Sunday’s coming. Boost your ability to connect!

Get the Art of Better Preaching

What else should preachers stop doing? 

Leave a comment below!

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