Preaching Today exists to encourage and equip preachers to faithfully and creatively proclaim God's Word so that the church grows up into the fullness of Christ. Monday Morning Preacher is for preachers by preachers. Each episode focuses on one unique aspect of preaching and explores how preachers can grow in their craft. Email the podcast at email@example.com.
Long-Time Pastor Argues for the One Point Sermon
How can you provide a clear path for people to hear God’s word? In this episode, Matt Woodley explores that question with co-host Kevin Miller. He’s a rector at Church of the Savior in Wheaton, IL with ten years of preaching experience. Miller makes a case for the one point sermon, citing Haddon Robinson who said “a central unifying idea must be at the heart of an effective sermon” in his book “Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages.”
He argues there are too many rabbit trails for listeners to go down, in a three point sermon. C.S. Lewis compared listeners to sheep going down a farm lane saying, “if you leave any gate open on either side, they will dash into that pasture and not go down the lane, where you want them to go.” Here are three reasons why one point sermons can be more effective:
1) The main point is clearer, because there’s less content for people to digest.
2) It’s easier to remember. Miller’s friend conducted a research project where she asked people, after a church service what the sermon was about. He said “What she found was that when her pastor preached a three point sermon, people remembered one point.”
3) People are more likely to take action as a result of a one point sermon.
Check out what was referenced on the podcast:
Andy Stanley’s book Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication
Dave Ferguson’s book The Big Idea: Aligning the Ministries of Your Church through Creative Collaboration
The Word Made Flesh: What Preaching Looks Like Amidst Persecution
How can you preach in countries that persecute Christians? In this episode, Matt Woodley explores that question with Venerable Justice Okoronkwo, Director of Missions in the Anglican diocese of Jos, Nigeria.
Justice Okoronkwo “Nigeria has been in the news lately for so many things that should make Christians concerned. The global terrorism index placed Nigeria second in the world, in terms of the effects of terrorist insurgency.” He explained that the only country ahead of Nigeria is Afghanistan.
Boko Haram, a jihadist terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria is responsible for approximately twenty five thousand deaths, and more than two million displaced people in Nigeria, according to Justice Okoronkwo.
“We’re seeing victims who were raped by insurgents, houses of Christians being destroyed, dead bodies of children that were hacked by machetes, churches that have been burned, and worshipers killed while they were worshiping” said Justice Okoronkwo.
People come to him, and want answers for why evil and violence taking place in Nigeria. He points out the dangers of pastors sounding hollow, when they respond to people who are suffering. He said “you can’t understand what’s somebody is going through, until you have sat with him, in his ash.”
In light of this, He drew attention to Psalm 73:“Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73:1-3, ESV).”
Preaching to People in Pain
How can you preach to people who are suffering? Matthew D. Kim, author of Preaching to People in Pain believes that beauty is often buried beneath pain, and that unseen reality helps him connect with his congregation. Matt Woodley draws attention to different types of pain: emotional, mental and physical, to name a few.
Kim said “I think there are some areas where we can help the listeners see that their pain is acknowledged by God. Their suffering is seen. Their suffering is not in vain. There’s a purpose to it.”
In his book, he asks preachers to consider nine questions that will help them prepare sermons on pain and suffering. In this episode, Kim opens up about painful experiences in his own life, and how God used them as formative experiences, to help him uplift people who were suffering in the body of Christ.
“I’ve been sharing pain whenever the text reveals that pain. I think it can help aid the preaching process,” he said.
Preaching Truth in the Public Square
What can preachers learn from prophets? In this episode, Matt Woodley explores that question with Danny Carroll, Professor of Biblical Studies and Pedagogy at Wheaton College.
Carroll said “Prophetic preaching means speaking truth in the public square. But it also requires a certain kind of integrity, a knowledge of the world that we live in.”
He also indicated that for prophets in the Old Testament, being prophetic often had implications for worship. He was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Carroll’s mother raised his family bi-lingual and bicultural, so they visited Guatemala every summer. Later on, he taught at a seminary in Guatemala City for thirteen years.
To emulate the Old Testament prophets, pastors can emulate prophets’ behavior or preach their message. Carroll also recommends pastors begin preaching from the Old Testament.
“We need the prophets as a moral compass and we lost it, and now we’re beginning to pay the social price for having silenced and ignored the prophets” he said.
Check out what was referenced on the podcast:
Daniel Carroll’s book The Book of Amos (New International Commentary on the Old Testament. WM.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2020.
How Your Life Shapes Your Preaching
How do live a life that cultivates great sermons? In this episode, Matt Woodley explores that question with Steve Norman, author of “The Preacher as Sermon: How Who You Are Shapes What They Hear.” He identifies ten roles that preachers inhabit, throughout the preaching process.
Norman argues that the preacher plays a vital role in what he calls "the preaching moment." He said “For me, the preaching moment happens where four worlds converge: the paper (the text), the preacher (the voice through which that text is declared), the power of God (the author), and the people (who are the recipients).”
His parents’ spiritual curiosity, as hearers of the Word really shaped him as a Christian. They came to church every week, expecting to hear from God. They also taught him to love scripture, and prayer. He has served in church ministry for 25 years, in metro Detroit and in Western Michigan.
BUY THE BOOK:
“The Preacher as Sermon,” website, created by Preachingtoday.com, Christianity Today, updated 2021
“The Preacher as Sermon” book, Preaching Today Books, created by Preachingtoday.com, Christianity Today, updated 2020
Why Three Point Sermons Are Effective
What are the merits of a three point sermon? In this episode, Matt Woodley and Kevin Miller explore that question. Matt argues for the three point sermon, while Kevin believes the one point sermon is more expedient, to deliver the gospel message to a congregation.
Matt said “It’s underrated. Don’t cast it out. I think it still works. Keep it in your repertoire.”
When he references three points, in a sermon – he’s showing listeners the movement of passage in the Biblical text.
It’s a simple way to organize your information – you’re breaking it up into bite sized chunks: it gave give your listeners three scenes about the text; it can have movement. For example, in journalistic writing, they talking about writing in scenes, a discreet movement of action, something that you can see.
He also talks about a sermon he gave on Hebrews 10 that focused on “Christ and His atoning sacrifice.” His three points were:
The need for forgiveness
The price of forgiveness
The offer of forgiveness
Matt said “It’s not a disaster if they only remember one of the points, and they don’t remember the outline. The outline isn’t really the point. Transformational truth from the text — That’s really important. ”
Loved this podcast!
Where did these guys go? I really wish they would come back. I loved listening to this podcast every week. It got me back into podcast. Bring this show back.
CT editorial decision
I understand questioning the presidents moral actions.... But to say that a Christian has a moral obligation to support the specifics of this impeachment process is troubling.
Need to read Martin Luthers “Two Kingdoms.”
And listen to your own podcast.
“Remember that people at your church may identify with opposing political parties. So the important thing is to be faithful to the gospel, and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”
CT editorial decision
I have to agree with others. Binding the conscience of others who have a different political perspective is a shame.
Makes one question all CT and PT content.
Podcast is how to not share political views in sermons.