Class on Sermon Form
Class on Sermon Form
One Major Improvement in Preaching Will Make All the Difference
There is one thing, that if preachers would learn to do, it would vastly improve their preaching. Assume for a moment that you have something important to say. You can take that Word and preach a sermon that wanders about until it dribbles off the front of the pulpit. You can also preach a sermon that plants that Word in the heart and mind of a congregation. You can rock their world. Nearly all the time, the difference will be sermon form—not a good joke, not just the right story, not erudition. Those things are great, but they pale in comparison to sermon form.
I am Rev. Samuel G. Alexander. I’ve been a Presbyterian preacher for 23 years. For thirteen of those years, I have also taught the Introduction to Preaching class at San Francisco Theological Seminary with my colleague, Rev. Dr. Jana Childers. I am working now as a Preaching Coach. I am called, no, let’s say driven, to work on improving the quality of preaching in the Church. I’ve found that two things hold us back. First, we don’t take the time to engage the Word of God in a way that transforms our lives. It is hard to preach a creative Word from God if you haven’t received one, and that takes work. (I should hasten to add here that this is quite often not the preacher’s fault. Congregations want great preaching but are not willing to give their pastor the time it takes to give it to them. Preaching, as I’ve written elsewhere, is a half-time job.)
The second thing holding us back is much more easily fixed. We can do something about it. We must learn to use sermon form to shape our message. As a first step toward that end, I have developed a free, online class on sermon form. This e-mail contains links to an introductory lesson on sermon form and a link to the first lesson. I have chosen eight sermon forms. Each week I will give a very brief description of one form, then I will preach a sermon using that form. A short quiz will follow to help you see if you’ve understood the concepts. Finally, I’ll show you the answers.
If you follow through and send me the answers to all 8 quizzes (not necessarily right answers, just a good faith effort), then I will be glad to do a sermon evaluation for you for free. I normally charge $50 for that service. Why would I do this? If you know much about internet marketing, you’ll know that if you make a free offer, you can draw clients your way. I am doing it for that reason. But I am not doing it cynically with only myself in mind. I believe I can help. I believe that I can make an impact on your preaching if you’ll work with me. Do I want to earn a living? Of course. But I chose this way of doing it because I want the Word of God to be preached with power in a world that is starving for meaning and grace. So please, whether you engage my services or not, take the class. It will help. That’s why I’m doing it. If you would like to do more focused work on improving your preaching I hope you’ll get in touch.
The videos will be coming out each week, hopefully on Tuesdays, (tech problem this week made that impossible), from now, November 10, 2016 until January 10, 2017. I will be skipping two weeks in late December and or early January. I hope they are useful for you! I am available for Preaching Coaching. I’m glad to talk to anyone at your church about this if that would be helpful.
The first call is always free, so if you are interested let’s just have a conversation to see if I can be fo service to you in your preaching.
A note about theological orientation: as you listen to the sermons you will realize that I am quite liberal. (Actually, I think it is fair to say that I left liberal in the dust a long time ago.) That said, I believe very strongly that people across the theological spectrum need to be nourished by a challenging, creative Word, from the pulpit. I have no desire to change your theological orientation. I want to help you become a good preacher. The church needs good preaching across the theological spectrum.