Regardless of what the final product demonstrates, we really do spend quite a bit of time on sermon prep at SAMP. Part of our prep includes a Thursday morning all-staff walk-through (varying perspectives are offered, questions of clarity are asked, general discussion of the biblical text and your exegesis takes place) of your Bible study and thoughts about the text and where you think you’re headed with the sermon. It’s one of my favorite parts of the preparation process.
I recently found this this helpful article by Rich Nathan on the matter. Rich is one of my favorite preachers and is the Sr. Pastor of the Columbus Vineyard in Columbus, Ohio. He’s also a repeat New Wine UK speaker.
We need to figure out, as preachers, what people’s primary problem is. The difficulty that I have with much contemporary evangelical preaching is that it seems to assume that people’s primary problem is a lack of social skills (therefore, practical “how-to” messages are what is needed) or that people’s primary problem is emotional/psychological (therefore, people need some sort of cathartic experience). It is clear, at least in Jesus’ mind, that people’s primary problem is that they don’t know God (John 15:21, 16:3, etc.) and don’t understand His rule and reign in their lives. I like J.I. Packer’s old distinction between knowing about God and knowing God. Most church people know about God, so they think they can move beyond “God talk”- that their deepest need is helpful tips on living life better. But the preacher should be the one person in the community who understands that people’s deepest need is to know God.