What exactly is a sermon? How does a sermon differ from a lecture? A motivational speech? Answers vary.
What is the point of the sermon? Is it to teach people what the Bible says? Is it change lives? Or maybe it's just to give people a morning to feel better about themselves? Yes? No? Again, answers land all over the board.
Answers are a dime a dozen, but asking the right questions can be invaluable.
I'm on a quest to improve my preaching. This includes how I study, delivery, passion, and many other aspects of preaching. It also includes regular evaluation. And it includes some questions I've started asking of all my sermons.
Some of these questions come from other preachers, although I can't remember who asked what question. In any case, I ask the following questions of all my sermons. If I can't answer any of them to a satisfactory level, sermon prep is not finished.
Here's my list:
1. Where is Jesus in this text?
2. What is the "gospel turn," that is, the tight, wheel-squealing corner that jars us back to our need for the gospel.
3. What do the hearers presently think (before the sermon).
4. What does the text dictate they should think? How does this impact their world view?
5. What is the single biggest idea of this text?
6. What does this text dictate that a believe do?
7. Can my biggest point (or all my points for that matter) be stated in a single sentence?
8. Is the point(s) stated in such a way that it is memorable?
9. What should I see if this sermon is "effective" or "hits the mark"?
10. When should I expect to see the "results" of this sermon?
I'm always on the hunt for good questions, so if have good questions you ask yourself before you preach a sermon or teach a class, I'd love to hear from you.