Pastor J.D. talks about those who have influenced him and his preaching the most over the years and what he’s learned from them.

A glimpse inside this episode:

Two foundational texts for a lot of young preachers are Haddon Robinson’s Biblical Preaching and Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching.

  • I’ve read both, and appreciate their concern to make preaching both expositional and engaging.
  • To use as a standard, cookie-cutter approach, though, I find their models a little too constraining.
  • While the principles of exegesis, interpretation, and hermeneutics are the same (and can never be abridged), different texts and subjects call for different approaches.

In addition to Robinson and Chapell, I’ve been greatly influenced by (and sometimes imitate the style of):

Tim Keller. Keller has probably influenced my basic thought on how to structure an outline more than anyone else. (And he’s avowedly indebted to Chapell, so it’s complementary, not contradictory). His basic structure goes something like this: “1. This is what God’s Word says should be—and we all wish would be. 2. But we can’t do it. 3. This text points to Jesus, who did it perfectly for us; accepting his finished work on our behalf changes our hearts, so we can begin to do it, too.”

John MacArthur and Tommy Nelson–careful attention to the text. They simply move through a text, explaining what it means as you go. This is a way of helping people to “read the Word of God better,” to borrow from Nehemiah’s famous explanation of preaching. In sermons like this, there isn’t a real “outline,” or often even a main point. The goal is simply to help people read a passage better.

Even more, David Jeremiah and Tony Evans–who preach like leaders, discipling along the way. 

I love the communication abilities of Andy Stanley.

  • Love his intro and application. Obviously, there’s a number of things we approach differently.
  • Andy has a very simple outline for just about every message, and I think about that for every introduction and conclusion that I write. Sometimes, based on the topic or the text, I’ll use his outline outright. I’ll let him explain it in his own words:

“The outline revolves around five words, each of which represents a section of the message. They are: Me, We, God, You, and We. With this approach, the communicator introduces a dilemma he or she has faced or is currently facing (Me). From there, you find common ground with your audience around the same or a similar dilemma (We). Then you transition to the text to discover what God says about the tension or question you’ve introduced (God). Then you challenge your audience to act on what they’ve just heard (You). And finally, you close with several statements about what could happen in your community, your church, or the world if everybody embraced that particular truth (We).”

Rick Warren. Warren also is great for how to structure the application points. He preaches like a disciple-maker, leading you to something rather than simply explaining the text. In my view, a preacher is a leader who exegetes, not an exegete who inadvertently leads. Remember: our goal is disciple-making, not information transfer. Warren says that, in general, sermon points shouldn’t be about the Bible character, but about the audience. So instead of saying, “David was caught in temptation because he was disengaged from the battle,” you should say, “You will be most prone to temptation when you’re disconnected from ministry.”