Most of my recorded sermons are on cassette tapes. I know what you are thinking. I am old.
I served as pastor of four churches and as interim pastor of nine churches. Many of the churches recorded my sermons and distributed them via cassette tapes. There are a lot of my sermons out there. I cringe thinking about someone listening to them today.
I am not, nor was I ever, a good preacher. My words are not those of false humility. They are frank reflections of reality. Here are some of the reasons my past sermons are really bad.
1. I did not deal with the biblical text sufficiently. As I have listened to pastors in recent years, I am grateful for their solid biblical exposition. But my sermons mostly did not dig deeply into the text.
2. My sermons had too many illustrations. One of the reasons I did not deal well with the biblical text was my overdependence on illustrations. I told too many stories instead of dealing with God’s story.
3. I was dependent on emotions too often. I used emotional illustrations often. I added humor too frequently. I was sadly dependent on emotionally moving the hearers rather than leaving the work to the Holy Spirit.
4. Some of my sermons reflected insufficient preparation. In most of my churches, I preached two different sermons, one on Sunday morning and one on Sunday night. In addition, I prepared two Bible studies, one for a small group class I taught and one for Wednesday night services. Instead of doing one sermon well each week, I prepared several sermons poorly.
5. I did not give sermons priority in my ministry. Too often I let the tyranny of the urgent replace a needed focus on my preparation and preaching. My use of time in ministry reflected poor stewardship.
I apologize to those of you who sat under my preaching. It is my prayer that God used my preaching despite me. I could have done better. I should have done better.
Somewhere in my house are several boxes containing hundreds of cassettes. My wife probably does not want them destroyed. She will likely want our three sons to have them. I cringe at the thought of the three of them laughing heartily as they listen to their old man trying to preach. I cringe even more thinking about my grandchildren getting the cassettes.
For those of you who are new in the preaching world, please consider my counsel. Do the opposite of what I did, and you will do well as a preacher.
And if you happen to come across one of my old sermons on a cassette, please destroy it immediately.
The world will be a better place for your diligence.
Posted on February 27, 2023
With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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