Most preachers preach like a light bulb. They shine their ideas every which way and illuminate as much as possible. But the best preachers preach like a laser. They are so intensely focused on one idea that it pierces the heart.
The light bulb approach to preaching leaves the audience confused. They may walk away and think you are really smart because of all the info you spouted out. However, if you were to ask them what the message was about, many would not be able to tell you.
The best method is to keep it simple. Find the one idea that God wants your congregation to hear from His Word. Then hit it with all you got.
How To Preach With Laser Focus:
1. Seek God.
Pray that God would show you what He wants you to preach on. It’s not about you. It’s not about your agenda. It’s not about what you want to say. It’s all about proclaiming God’s message.
Preaching is a spiritual act. Your message should be bathed in prayer. Get on your face before God and ask Him to speak.
2. Pick One Passage.
Start with scripture. Find the one key passage. Not two. Not three. Not four. ONE!
Having supporting passages is great, but every message needs onlt one key passage that the rest of the sermon is pulled out of.
Too many main passages leads to too many scattered ideas.
3. Study The Snot of It.
Read the passage over and over and over again. Meditate on it. Write down your thoughts and questions.
Then, only after you study it yourself, read everything you can get your hands on about the key passage – commentaries, books, blog posts, sermons, Greek / Hebrew lexicons, etc.
Become an expert on the text.
4. Boil It Down.
Take everything you learned in your study and boil it down.
Andy Stanley, in his book Communicating for a Change, says he starts this process by answering 4 questions: What do they need to know? Why do they need to know it? What do they need to do? Why do they need to do it?
After answering these questions, you will probably have a few paragraphs. And here comes the hard part: simplify until you have one major idea.
Boil your paragraphs down into one memorable statement that will capture the singular big idea of the message – a sermon in a sentence.
5. Stay Focused.
Now that you have your sermon in a sentence, you are ready to start writing. But make sure to keep your focus on the big idea. It is way too easy to get off track.
Start the introduction with the big idea in mind. Unpack the key passage to reveal the big idea. Use supporting passages to give authority to the big idea.
If you choose to preach a multiple point outline because that is your syle, that’s OK. Just make sure the points all revolve around the big idea.
Conclude by hammering the big idea over and over again until your audience can recite it in their sleep. Repetition breeds memory.
Give It a Shot.
Put the light bulb away and pick up the laser. You won’t cover as much content, but the single idea you focus on will penetrate deep into the hearts and minds of your congregation. This just might be the game-changer your preaching needs.
Are you a laser-focused preacher? If not, what is your biggest obstacle to becoming one?