Behind the Music-Sermon Planning

I’m looking forward to the fact that in just three weeks (12.9.07) I will be preaching in our first test drive service! I can’t wait. With that on my mind I’m posting seven questions I ask myself as I prepare to speak. Bear in mind that this is not the “right” way to do it, since I’ve never been (or plan to attend) seminary. Most of these questions come from stuff I’ve picked up as a singer/songwriter…

  1. Is it inspired? This is the most important and hard to quantify part of writing either song’s or sermons…you can write a technically perfect song about a toaster or a well researched sermon about something that you aren’t inspired to talk about…both will be hard to listen to. I struggle with this question until I am absolutely sure that I have “heard” something in God’s word that the listeners need for their lives before proceeding to any of the next “questions”.
  2. Does it have an interesting title? I think sermon and song titles are very important because they can generate questions and interest initially. Our first two “test drive” sermons are titled “BB guns and Bunny Suits” and “Stoned”…wanna know what I will be talking about???
  3. Does it have ONE consistent thought? I want sermons at actionchurch to be like a good pop song…something you will remember after the first time you hear it…The only way I know to do that is to take ONE biblical concept, not a list, not an acrostic, not five points, not a “chapter”…but ONE biblical principle and try to make it as memorable and practical as possible. The only thing that counts in preaching is what you remember after you leave the parking lot. (That’s the main reason I don’t read from notes as I speak…If it’s not memorable enough for me to “know the words”…there’s no chance anyone else will remember it.)
  4. Is it as short as possible? I have thousands of songs in my music library and only G-n-R’s “November Rain” is over four minutes long. I think
    “memorable” long songs and long sermons are an exception…definitely not the rule. Usually they are the result of not taking the time and effort to properly “edit” out all the “extra” thoughts and points… Sermons at actionchurch will be around 30 minutes long.
  5. Does it have a “hook”? There are no new song or sermon “topics”. There is no “new” truth! The concept of a “love song” or a “Biblical Sermon” are thousands of years old… There are however countless “new ways to say old things”. Ways to surprise…twists and turns that can be used if you are willing to do the “work” of song and sermon writing. There is no written exam to get into heaven so “conveying information” is not enough!
  6. Will it “move” the listener? A good song should evoke some movement-break dancing, head banging, line-dancing, finger snapping, at least toe tapping or nodding. My hope is that no one (including myself) will ever preach a sermon at actionchurch where the response is “that’s good to know”. I believe the only reason people should go to the effort and expense of gathering on a Sunday morning is if they will in some way moved to a better way of living. The whole concept of actionchurch is that each week we will attempt to put the teachings of Jesus into action…
  7. Is it authentic? I don’t “buy it” when Clay Aiken sings “When a man loves a woman” and people don’t believe when preachers pretend to be something they are not on Sunday mornings. I don’t think you have to be “perfect” to be a preacher (or I certainly wouldn’t be one!!!). I do think you have to be (as Perry Noble says )”smokin‘ what you’re selling” and be brutally transparent and honest about your struggles with God’s plan for living…

Comments are closed.