HOW TO PREPARE A TALK OR SERMON? AN INTRODUCTION

Dr. Kok Beng


Importance of Preaching on the Mission Field

People in Asia and Africa expect a missionary to be both a preacher and a pastor. I believe that this is the case in South America as well. Missionaries who are able to preach well are highly valued in these nations. So, every person aspiring to be a cross-cultural missionary should have good preaching skills.

In this short paper, I’d like to present an outline that I’ve followed in my preaching class to train young students to preach well.

Preparation

  1. Seek proper spiritual mindset through prayer and understanding of challenge.
  2. Know the general purpose of your task ahead.
  3. Know your audience.
  4. Know the occasion.
  5. Know yourself.
  6. Know your subject.
  7. Limit your subject to the time on hand.
  8. Formulate a proposition.

Organization

  1. Construct the body of your speech. Remember that the main body consists of twothirds of your talk. 
  2. Determine the main points: 
    • Main points should be no less than two and no more than five in number. 
    • Main points should be related to the proposition or the thesis to ensure unity and coherence. It is usually wise to restate the proposition as and when each main point is presented. Repetition will drive home the essential things that you would like your audience/church to take hold of and ponder over later on. 
    • Main points should be determined by the nature of the content; these should emerge from the text and context. 
    • Usual length of the sermon recommended universally is three points! 
  3. Reinforce the main points with sub-points. 
    • Select material carefully to strengthen and to clarify the main ideas. 
    • Use example for proof; use illustrations for clarification. 
    • Use transitions between points. 
  4. A good body may have the following features.  
    • Emphasis on main points. 
    • Alliteration for main points. Asian, African and South American audiences usually relish the process of alliteration, use of synonyms, contrasting pairs of words, and some colloquialism from the dialects! 
    • Contrasting statements for various points raised. See the examples given below for the verse The Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10:  
      • He was rich, yet poor. 
      • He was good, but not good enough! 
      • He had religion, but not life! 
      • He was so near, yet so far from the Kingdom! 
    • Color your statements with illustrations, metaphors, verses, proverbs from the ethnic context, proverbs from the Bible, etc., in order to clarify the points. 
    • Quote the authorities, who are highly valued by your audience. Give a brief introduction in case such authority is not readily recognized. 
    • Adequate repetition. Remember Asian, African, and South American contexts appreciate repetition, but bear in mind the time available, and so do not ever overdo it or anything else!  
      • Humour should rather be sporadic, interspersed in appropriate place and contexts. Seriousness of purpose and the learning element should be helped by your humour, and not dim these important elements. 
      • In other words, do not joke simply for the sake of joking. 

    Build Your Introduction

    • The Introduction  
      • Is most important. 
      • Introduces the subject. 
      • Proposition is presented: Aim 
    • A Good Introduction 
      • Must be interesting. Must create interest in the sermon that is going to be preached. 
      • Must arouse curiosity. 
      • Must be short! 
      • Must be simple and straightforward. 
      • Must introduce the message. 
      • A good introduction is like the cherry on top of a delicious ice cream. 
    • Types of Introduction 
      • Background material from a text and/or previous preaching. 
      • Recollections and familiarization. 
      • Proposition: State your aim (Only an eloquent speaker usually succeeds in state and accomplishing the aims stated beforehand.)
        Question-Answer. But do not embarrass individuals by pointing out to them and demanding responses! 
      • State a fact. 
      • Use a Quotation: “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity” for the story of Saul. “Behind every dark cloud, there is a silver lining” for the story of Job. 
      • You could make surprising statements also: “There is one question that no one can answer. It may take all of eternity and still it will not be answered. What is it? What shall profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” 
      • A humorous statement: “He who lies down with dogs gets up with fleas.” “Am I a dog that come at me with sticks?” 1 Samuel 17:43. Dog or no dog, he did it! 
      • Exclamatory statements. 
    • How to Begin? 
      • Start with an attention-getting statement. 
      • Establish common ground. 
      • Create a need to listen to your subject. 
      • State your proposition. 
      • An initial summary of your main ideas may be helpful 
      • Choose a good transition into the main body of your speech. 
    • Prepare Your Conclusion 
      • Restate your proposition. 
      • Include a final summary. 
      • Present an impressive concluding statement or appeal. 
      • Remember that conclusion is very important. No sermon is a sermon without a conclusion. Think carefully how you’re going to end your preaching. Young students should write it out and even memorize it! 
      • Why is it so important? 
        • Conclusion helps you move people to act, to decide on the future course of action. 
        • All the parts of your sermon are planned and geared toward this end, to cause a reaction and response. 
      • A good conclusion 
        • Is short. 
        • Has cutting edge (Acts 2:37; 7:54). 
        • Leaves one with a sense of awe. 
      • How is conclusion presented? 
        • Summary of points. 
        • Last point of sermon. 
        • Anecdote 
        • Application: challenge, “Therefore, let us …” 
        • Hymn, verse, poem could be used. 
        • A Question could also be part of the conclusion. 

      To Conclude

      Preaching is a very important to communicate the gospel to people who have not heard it. It is also a very important tool to instruct, disciple, and guide people about the Kingdom of God.

      Do not ever aim at becoming a preacher because it will bring personal glory to you.


      Dr. Kok Beng
      Asia Pacific Mission
      Bethany International University
      Singapore
      apmsing@pacific.net.sg