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What Makes a Good Sermon?

This was a question posed on a Facebook group that got me thinking. Here are some of my thoughts.

I appreciate a specific and targeted topic with all the stories, quotes, and whatnot able to be hung on that. I’ve heard the other type of sermon, where the disparity of the anecdotes, jokes and scriptures leave you wondering what the real point was.

Along these lines, for me a really good sermon gives me something to take away and apply in my life. I’ve heard some great sermons on ideas or topics – pointing out truth, revealing new angles on familiar scriptures, challenging my world views or life habits – but which ended on a point such as “wouldn’t it be nice if we…” or “let’s go out this week and be more…” Ultimately my takeaway from a sermon like this is “Wow, that was a really great sermon.” And that’s about it. At best, I might happen to remember something from it at an opportune time down the road and perhaps even apply it.

But the really great sermons I’ve heard have had the same revelatory quality as these, but ended with suggestions – ways I can put this into practice this week that are both practical and accessible. Like:

1. Take time out at least once this week to pray that…
2. Look for an opportunity to…
3. Ask God to show you ways you might be…

On top of this, I’ve really appreciated ministry times at the end of a sermon that specifically invite God to speak to us or work in our lives in ways the sermon is specifically targeted towards, or in response to anything else that particularly challenged us.

What makes a good sermon for you?

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