Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What should be included in a sermon and what should be excluded?

I may be the world's worst to address this topic, because I never want to leave anything out!!! In actuality though, knowing the main point of the text let's us know what to keep and what to save for something else. For instance, Lloyd-Jones did a whole series once from "good things" that he left out of other sermons and that fit well together. So the questions I ask myself each week: "Is this information part of the main point?" "Will this information help clarify, explain, support, or illustrate the main point?" "Why should this material be included/excluded?" "Do I have a selfish motive for wanting to include this information (i.e. an axe I want to grind)?" "Will this info help someone in our congregation who is walking through something right now (i.e. because I know those I shepherd, I know that this one point though brief may still be beneficial for them)?" In John 16:12, Jesus said, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." Knowing when to say what always requires dependence upon the Spirit. The beauty of pastoring though is you can take those extra things and send them in an email to your people as a part of shepherding them. You could use them on a Wednesday night to say "There were some great truths in our text last Sunday, but we could not cover all of them, but I wanted to share them on a Wed night with you so that we just didn't move past and ignore them." There are a lot of venues for you to still communicate what you see in the text without loading all of it into one sermon. You know your people better than anyone else. You know what they've been accustomed to hearing and handling from a text. No one will ever be upset with simple, clear, and faithful sermons. If it is the main point, supports the main point, or illustrates the main point then include it. If it's not the main point, but still a good point, then find another way to put it in front of your people.