10 Thoughts about Today’s Preaching + a Coaching Opportunity

I make no claims to be an extraordinary preacher, but I do love to help preachers think about ways to improve their preaching. That’s one reason I’m excited to work with Church Answers to offerNext-Level Preachingcoaching, and I encourage you to take a look at this possibility. Here are some of my thoughts about today’s preaching in hopes of helping all of us continually improve.  

  1. I learn more from many sermons today than I did growing up. Perhaps that’s because I’m an adult now, but I think the reason is more basic: more preachers are working hard to provide context, background, etc., to frame a proper understanding of the text.
  2. Some sermons are too long. I’m not opposed to longer sermons, but I do think we must be sensitive to the people we’re trying to reach and disciple. If you’re going to preach 45-60 minutes, make sure you do it well.
  3. Some sermon series are too long. Again, I’m not opposed to a long sermon series, especially when expositing a longer book of the Bible. I do wonder, though, if spending years in a single book is always the best way to expose our oft-transient congregations to the whole counsel of God.
  4. Some folks use humor poorly. Effective use of humor can draw in hearers, but poor use can be distracting. If the joke doesn’t help illuminate truth – and/or if you’re a bad joke-teller – I’d cut it from your outline.
  5. Much exposition could be stronger. Simply opening the Bible and attempting to explain and apply a text does not automatically make one a good expository preacher.
  6. Application often needs work. We can help hearers understand where the Scriptures intersect with their lives without our assuming the place of the Holy Spirit; indeed, I agree with Bryan Chapell that we are mistaken if we think hearers will automatically make that Scripture-to-life connection.*
  7. Some preachers are boring. I don’t know how else to make that point, so there it is. It would probably do us all well to hear a gut-level, no-hold-barred, honest analysis of our sermon on any given Sunday. 
  8. Some sermons lack Jesus. If members of the early Church listened to some of our sermons, I think they’d wonder what happened to the centrality of Christ. 
  9. We have little excuse not to improve in our preaching. More and more churches are offering internships for young preachers. Preaching classes are now available through online and hybrid delivery systems. Via the Internet, we can listen to the best preaching any day of the week. Coaching like Church Answers is offering is always an option.
  10. We have opportunity to hear some really good preachers via the Internet. Despite my concerns listed here, I’m grateful for so many phenomenal preachers around – those that clearly teach and apply the Word out of a holy heart in love with God. I long to be such a person. 


*Chapell, Bryan (2005-03-01). Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon (Kindle Location 4415). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


  • Gene says:

    Dr. Lawless,

    Thank you for this, I really love reading your posts. In fact I have them sent to my email so that I won’t miss your wisdom and teaching. I think part of the problem today in many of our churches is the fact that we do more “self-help” sermons than real teaching of His Word. Granted many series can be long (Point #3) but as I see it, because we don’t do book by book series teaching we are in the dilemma of Christians being bible illiterate.

    I’m personally convinced that God had His Word written so that we would learn it in a verse by verse expositional way. When the bride of my youth sent me letters when we were apart, I would read each one, one page at a time beginning with page one, going to page two etc. I don’t ever recall reading page one then going to page 3 than back to page 2.

    Just the thoughts of a rambling servant of God.

    May God continue to use you to challenge us.

  • Mark Littleton says:

    Excellent words, Dr. Lawless! And it sounds like your coaching opportunity will be extremely helpful to lots of preachers. Thanks for doing this!

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