Tips to Effective Preaching
The Bible is full of examples of effective preaching. In Acts 2:14-38 and Acts 3:12-26, Peter ministered in such a way that thousands were saved. Below are a few simple tips to help you become a more effective preacher and teacher of the Word.
Effective Preaching Tips
- Study the Bible. In Acts 2:14-38 and Acts 3:12-26 it’s evident that Peter had studied the Word. He was given the opportunity to preach and was “instant in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Studying to show yourself approved, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” When I first started preaching, I taught through a different book of the Bible each of our three services a week. I used at least seven commentaries. After researching them thoroughly, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to say, how He wanted me to present my message, and what kind of applications He wanted for His people. It took a lot of time, effort and hard work, but it was worth it. Taking shortcuts to study of the Word will rob you of the richness and jewels the Lord wants to give you from His Word.
- Memorize scripture. Nothing is more powerful than the Word of God. Peter, in his sermon on the day of Pentecost, quoted large and obscure passages of scripture. He didn’t pull out a scroll and look things up, he knew it. The Word will do more in the hearts of people than we ever can. My opinion is not worth much, but what God has to say is of eternal value. Nothing has helped me in my preaching and teaching more than the memorization of scripture. In Mark 2:2, Jesus was in a crowded house in Capernaum and there He “preached the Word unto them.” Only the Word makes our ministry effective.
- God’s Word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:10-11).
- The Word is sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).
- God promises the Holy Spirit will “bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever He has said unto us” (John 14:26). We must, however, put in the time and effort to know what God’s Word says.
- Depend upon the Lord. John 15:5 says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” The only way to be effective preachers is to depend and lean on Him entirely. Peter learned this the hard way. In Matthew 26:33 he was depending on himself and not Jesus. When he preached on the day of Pentecost, he was no longer leaning on his own strength but God’s. It’s hard not to depend on our natural strengths and depend on Him instead. Any thing of worth coming from my life is totally and completely Him. I cry out to Him every time I preach, letting Him know that unless He does it through me, it will be a disaster. Let’s abandon self dependency and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work through us, which is the only way it will have lasting value or effectiveness.
- Have an experience with the cross. When the lame man was healed and everyone began to look to Peter and John as if they were someone great, Peter was quick to turn their attention away from him and direct them to Jesus. In Acts 3:12 he said, “Why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?” Peter let them know it wasn’t them but Jesus. In Acts 3:16 he took it a step further saying it wasn’t his faith, but the faith that came from Jesus. If we haven’t had a true experience with the cross our effectiveness in ministering the Word will be limited at best. There will be times when people look to us and we must always point them to Jesus. God will share His glory with no one.
- You need support. No matter how great we think we are, we can’t do it alone. Peter, in Acts 2:14, “took his stand with the eleven,” who stood behind him in full support. To be effective preachers, we must have people who support us. Peter had denied the Lord and in the natural, they probably wouldn’t have chosen him. However, they knew he was the one Jesus had called. Let that be a lesson to us. Let’s stand behind the person God has called (Hebrews 5:4). They may not be perfect, and may go through struggles now and then, but they are still the one God has chosen (John 15:16). Luke 16:12 says, “If you have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own.” Everyone needs a good “Amen Corner!” As pastors, let’s realize we can’t do what God has called us to unless there are faithful people supporting us.
- Use voice inflection. In Acts 2:14 Peter “raised his voice.” It doesn’t mean he was screaming and yelling. No one likes it when people are screaming at them. That said, it’s boring when a person ministers in a monotone voice. When we want to emphasize a point there should be a change in our voice. God will help you as you go on in your ministry. Often it will develop as you are impressed with the importance of what you are attempting to get across. The best thing I can say to you is, be yourself. Don’t try to be someone your not.
- Be informative. Peter said, “Let this be know to you” (Acts 2:14). We must give our people fresh insight and understanding which requires diligent study. It doesn’t come easy. It’s also imparting the mind of God to our people which requires us to spend time with Jesus (Acts 4:13), seated at His feet, listening to His Word (Luke 10:38-42). We need to be able to give our people “thus says the Lord!”
- Be exhortative. Acts 2:14 says, “Give heed to my words.” It does little good to give people information if we’re not going to encourage them to implement it into their lives. People will not profit from our ministry unless we get them to put the Word into practice. It won’t be easy, and often they won’t like it, but we must challenge them to “give heed to our words.” In Mark 15:21, Simeon of Cyrene was pressed into service to bear Jesus’ cross. This was likely the same Simeon in Acts 13:1 who had become one of the leaders in the Antioch church.
- Hebrews 2:1 says, “We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”
- James 2:17 says, “Faith without works is dead.”
- Hebrews 4:2 says, “For unto us was the gospel preached as well as unto them, but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith, in them that heard it.”
- Hebrews 10:24 says, “Provoke one another to love and good works.”
- Get to the point. In Acts 2:23, after explaining what happened on the day of Pentecost, Peter said, “You nailed to the cross and put Him to death.” After the healing of the lame man, Peter was quick to tell them, “You disowned the Holy and Righteous one and put to death the Prince of life” (Acts 3:14-15). Notice, he said “you,” not someone in general. We must stop playing games with people and tell them the truth.
If God called has called you to preach the Word of God, don’t quit! Romans 11:29 says, “The gifts and callings of God are without repentance.” And Isaiah 55:10-11 tells us “God’s Word will not return to Him void.” He will prosper your work and ministry in due season.