It is easy to settle into a pattern of the familiar and comfortable. We do this in all areas of life: same breakfast cereal, same choice in the restaurant, same type of movie, same store for clothes. It is natural and usually not a problem. But once in a while it is good to vary things. A different salad dressing, one of those new deli sandwiches on the menu, a thriller or rom-com instead of the usual _______ (fill in the blank). In the same way, in our preaching it is easy to get into a rut. Perhaps it’s time to challenge yourself with something fresh:
1. Different kind of text: I don’t mean preaching from a different “holy book.” Perhaps you find yourself always preaching epistles, or Old Testament narratives, or stories from the gospels. Schedule something different – one of the other three above, or a Psalm, a Proverb, a Prophet.
2. Different shape of sermon: It’s easy to always preach deductively (main idea up front), or inductively (just the theme or subject up front, the main idea emerging at the end). When the text allows for it, try the other one, or an inductive-deductive outline. Perhaps your sermons are always a list of keyword points? Try preaching a one-point message.
3. Different type of sermon: When was the last time you preached first-person? Loads of options – you can be the writer, a character, an implied character. You can visit your listeners today, or have them travel through time and visit you back then. You can preach the whole sermon in character, or part of a sermon. You can use costume, props or neither one.
4. Different props in delivery: If you’re used to taking a manuscript into the pulpit, try abbreviated notes. If you’re into notes, try no notes (see earlier posts on how to do this). If you usually project something on a screen, try turning it off and having people look at you instead.
5. Different preaching logistics: If you always preach from behind a pulpit, try removing the pulpit, or move out from behind it. Perhaps stand on a different level, or even sit on a high stool (if it suits the sermon).
A change is as good as a rest. You will benefit from getting out of the rut, and you may find your people listen more attentively too!
You can find the original at: http://biblicalpreaching.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/is-your-preaching-in-a-rut/