This post is part of a multi-part blog series called Preaching PrinciplesClick here to watch the introduction video.

At Grace Church, we have 21 preaching guidelines for anyone preaching. They are…

  1. Bring yourself to the text and the pulpit first. Authenticity is key. You are not an outside observer looking in on a text, you must have wrestled with God first.
  2. There are 3 things to exegete:
    • The Text
    • Your Audience
    • Our broader Culture
  3. Each message should engage the congregation’s Head, Heart, Hands (intellectually challenging, emotionally moving, and practically compelling)
  4. The main audience of our preaching is Christians but we must always be a sensitive to people who are brand new to the faith. The Sunday audience is very broad: long-term Christians, seekers, atheists, adults, children, students, rich, poor, black, white, urban, suburban. Picture several representative faces in your mind as you are preparing and ask “Will this make sense to them? How will they hear this point I’m making?” I think of 1 Corinthians 14:23-25 and the principle of not confusing, but making things understandable to the outsider who comes in to worship.
  5. We want people to leave hungry for the word and not stuffed with the word (we don’t want people to come in, spoon feed them, and send them home full of bible verses – instead create a hunger in them for God’s word). The American bible society (who sends bibles all over the world) used to measure their effectiveness in tonnage. How many tons of bibles they sent out. They realized quantity is not the best measure, instead it’s are people reading it and hungry for it. Some preachers pack their sermon so full of bible verses that they’re only making people full and not hungry. We hope people leave so compelled that they want to explore the scriptures for themselves.
  6. Because the goal of preaching is life change, each message must have actionable principles. Each point should be worded applicationally with clear next steps offered.
  7. Sermons should be discipleship focused, but do not need to carry all the discipleship freight of Grace. There are other venues for deeper teaching, discipleship principles, and accountability. Including classes, life groups, Grace Leadership Institute, etc. The sermon doesn’t need to do everything.
  8. The word of God should never be boring. Incorporate stories, object lessons, testimonies, fun, and authenticity into your preaching. Jesus did.
  9. 30 minutes is enough.
  10. Don’t take too much credit or too much blame for the outcome. In the parable of the soils, Jesus suggests that only 25% of the crowd will be fertile soil.
  11. Don’t share everything you researched. Your sermon is a collated and crafted presentation of truth. You should have a deep well of knowledge on the passage or subject that never gets mentioned in your message.
  12. Preaching style is a matter of preference. We will have a variety of sermon styles at Grace: exegetical, topical, expository, theological, illustrative, etc. There is no one preaching style mandated in the scriptures.
  13. Context is king. Don’t use your passage out of context.
  14. Be armored up when you preach. Preaching is spiritual warfare. Jesus said, “I am the truth” and in his most extensive teaching on the devil, he calls him “the father of lies.” So, when you stand in front of a crowd and declare truth that comes against the lies people believe, you are on the front line of spiritual warfare. The devil’s primary strategy of spiritual warfare isn’t demon possession, illness, sickness, tragedy, hurricanes. Instead, his go-to formula to drive human society into ruin, and the church into ruin, is deceptive ideas that play to disordered desires. Preaching is an offensive attack of the truth against the work of Satan in people’s lives.
  15. We believe in Series preaching because it allows multiple on-ramps throughout the year for new people to attend, for groups to launch, and for supporting material to be created.
  16. The Holy Spirit works just as much in advance PREPARATION as He does in SPONTANEOUS moments. So, prepare well. It is best for to establish a consistent research platform (Evernote, One Note, Logos, etc.)
  17. The Sermon series planning process will include many leaders in the church across many different departments to assure unity of voice and coordination of work.
  18. We will develop a Yearly Preaching Calendar through prayerful guidance and collaborative voices. This will provide a guide for the year but will also be adaptable should other needs arise.
  19. When possible all sermon outlines will be presented and critiqued in advance by other members of the preaching team, and will be filtered through the Elders. There is great value in multiple voices contributing.
  20. All new preachers at Grace will deliver their sermon first to the preaching team for feedback, coaching, practice and integration into the preaching DNA of our church.
  21. All sermons will be evaluated according to solid theology, engaging content, compelling delivery, and clear application.


<< Part 6 – 10 Questions I ask | Part 8 – Four Categories for Evaluating Sermons >>