Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Variety is the spice of preaching?

Every preacher has his or her go to style. There's a reason we can say, "That sounded like a Fred Craddock sermon" and have other preachers know what we are talking about (or, "That sounded like the guy from Princess Bride!). All of us have a style of sermons that fits our particular personality, theology, denominational setting, etc. There's nothing wrong with having a style. It helps keep things consistent, comfortable for both the congregation and the preacher. One's style can help create the feeling of being home for the congregation. They know what to expect.

That being said, departing from one's style on occasion can be beneficial, as well. Variety, after all, is the spice of life. Do you always preach inductive sermons? Try a deductive approach for just one Sunday and see how it goes? Always preach deductive sermons, give an inductive sermon a try? Growing up, most of the sermons I heard were deductive. They were good deductive sermons, not what gets derisively called three points and a poem sermons. Nevertheless, because this is what I heard most, when I started hearing inductive sermons at seminary they sounded very fresh. Guess what kind of sermons I started preaching? That's right, inductive sermons. Now, I preach inductively most of the time. It's my style, but occasionally, I'll preach a deductive sermon because I think the text or the purpose of the sermon leads me in that direction. Amazingly, what used to seem like a worn out style of sermon feels fresh again to both me and the congregation. Primarily because it's different.

I find variety especially helpful when I am preaching a text that is very familiar to the congregation. People see the sermon text and assume they know where you are going to go with it. Unconsciously, they tune out. How do you gain a new hearing for an old familiar text? I've found changing up the style of my sermon can help.

So, the question of the week is this: What is your basic sermon style? Do you ever deviate from that style? How? and What were the results? I'll provide my answer tomorrow.

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