Mistakes Preachers Make in the Pulpit
This is not to bash preachers, pastors, ministers and those who have been called to preach the word of God. This is not to say that everything the clergy does is wrong; however, there are some mistakes that preachers do make in front of the congregation.
Also, this article addresses only the mistakes preachers make while in the pulpit. It does not address any other area of a minister's life.
Perhaps this article will shed some light on some mistakes preachers make. Perhaps when preachers become aware of their mistakes, they will put forth every effort to correct those mistakes for the sake of people they serve.
Mistake of Snatching a Sermon Off the Internet
Often it is evident that the preacher hasn't sought God about what to preach. If so, he or she would address some of the issues the people are facing. It is a mistake for people to just pull a sermon off the internet and use it for the congregation facing the preacher on this particular Sunday.
The sermon might have been appropriate years ago for the congregation in Maine, but it might not be current or even close to what would help the people hearing that same sermon in South Carolina. It is advisable that preachers should stop being so lazy and lay before the Lord and seek Him about what to preach.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with preachers being inspired by another preacher's sermon. However, a line should be drawn about how much of another preacher's sermon should be used.
Mistake of Wasting Sacred Time
One pastor actually charted and was quite concerned when one of his young ministers wasted 15-20 minutes of his sermon time telling people to "touch your neighbor," "turn to your neighbor and say..." and "give someone a high-five."
These actions take valuable time about from the actual sermon. Instead of the preacher telling the congregation how to have a transformed life, he uses the congregation to help fill the time by making the congregation act as though they are at a basketball game giving high-fives to those close by when their team scores.
Pastors should realize where they are. They are standing before the people of God to help them have a better life. They are not leading a pep rally.
Mistake of Not Addressing the Needs of People
People go to church to hear something to make their lives better. They want to hear something to help them during times of hurt, grief, and pain. When congregants don't get what they need from their pastors or the person preaching, they leave more dishearted than they were before they made their way to church.
People are hurting and trying to make sense of spiritual things. Preachers make the mistake of talking about everything except what will transform lives.
People sit in the congregation hoping and often praying they will hear a word directed at them to make their lives easier. They want answers to questions and solutions to personal problems. Of course, the preacher won't be able to do this on his or her own. However, if he has sought the Lord before preaching, God will show the preacher how to help those people sitting in the congregation.
Mistake of Not Preaching Christ and Him Crucified
Preachers preach themselves instead of Christ and the cross. When a preacher talks about everything else instead of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, it is not a sermon. Instead, it is just a message without Christ.
How many messages have you heard and Christ wasn't mentioned at all?
Paul preached nothing except Christ and Christ crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)
Mistakes of Not Focusing on God's People
The minister in the pulpit is part to blame that people don't grow spiritually. Notice, the statement says "part to blame." Ministers can't be blamed entirely if the congregation isn't growing, but surely they should have some responsibility for promoting spiritual growth. How can they do that?
- Ministers should focus on preaching Christ and the cross. The person standing in the pulpit should include the cost of the cross in every sermon.
- Minister should preach that salvation is ongoing. First, salvation, then sanctification. Most ministers stop at the first phase of salvation without going further. People need to know that salvation is only the first step in being Christ-like.
- The congregation should be made clear on how Jesus' death on the cross relates to them. Many ministers don't put the two together, but they should.
FOR MINISTERS: Do you make these mistakes?
Mistakes of Not Using Focus and Function Statements
A sermon should have one focus statement. The entire sermon should be woven around one main theme. When there are too many points, the congregation might not remember any of them. There is a Sermon Preparation e-book that explains focus statements and their effectiveness.
A sermon should include a function statement. That means after people hear a sermon, they should be prompted to do something with that information. They should be able to apply that information to their own lives.
It is up to the minister to provoke the listeners to the point that they will rush out of the church and put that information into practice. Without a function statement, the people might leave wondering what they should do with what they just heard.
Ministers fail when they don't tell the congregation, "Go and sin no more" or "Rise, pick up your bed and walk" or "Stretch out your hand." Notice these are some of the function statements Jesus told the people. Ministers should do likewise.
FOR CHURCHGOERS: Have you noticed these mistakes ministers make?
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