Sermon 07-01-18: “Jesus Makes Us Whole”

Yesterday, I preached my first sermon at my new appointment, Cannon United Methodist Church in Snellville, Georgia. (I’m an associate pastor there.) My scripture was Mark 5:21-43. If you haven’t seen me preach in a while, you may notice a somewhat looser, more conversational style. I attribute this change to the fact that, for the past few months, I’ve been preaching from an outline rather than a manuscript.

I made this change a few months ago after my previous church introduced a once-a-month Sunday evening service, for which I preached a different sermon from Sunday morning. (I developed a new appreciation for the Baptist pastors of my childhood who did this every week!) I simply didn’t have time to prepare a full manuscript for a second sermon on these Sundays. So I preached from an outline for the first time in my life. To my surprise as much as anyone else’s, these were some of the best sermons I’ve ever preached. As a result, I decided to do the same thing on Sunday morning.

One result of this change is that I put less pressure on myself to be clever, funny, or entertaining. I’m embarrassed to tell you, for instance, how much I used to sweat over creating an engaging introduction to my sermons each week! Now I just dive right in. In general, my sermons stick more closely to the scripture. And why not? I love the Bible. Why did I assume that my congregation wouldn’t love it, too? Especially if I could show them my heart for it—show them my passion for it? So that’s what I try to do now.

I’ve also changed the way I prepare sermons. For example, I now take notes longhand, as opposed to typing on my laptop. I find that “slowing down” in this way helps me think more clearly. (Have any of you tried this?) The people at Crossway, from whom I’ve purchased many products recently, would be delighted to know that I use both my ESV Journaling Bible, Interleaved Edition and their new ESV Scripture Journals (about $5 a pop on Amazon!) to do this.

Anyway, feel free to see the results of these changes in the video below. Scroll the video ahead to “-1:08:20” for the start of my sermon.

3 thoughts on “Sermon 07-01-18: “Jesus Makes Us Whole””

  1. I’m not at all surprised that you find this works for you. When I was a young and upcoming executive, I started having to speak more and more to groups. I tended to over prepare and to try and script the whole thing. The result was stiff and unengaging. One of my directors saw my dilemma and sent me to a training outfit called “Speakeasy”. They changed my life. Using bold broad outlines to keep me from panicking if I got distracted loosened my whole style up. My confidence soared. Putting modesty aside, I went from not very good to almost spell-binding.

    Good luck with your new flock. Just open the Bible and open your heart, and you will open their minds and lives.

    1. Thanks, Grant! I still “over-prepare” in terms of studying the sermon text, but not preparing the sermon, if you know what I mean. The end result is that my outline includes more material than I have time to preach.

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