What I'd like to hear at church,
and how I'd like the pastor to prepare
by Arnold Neumaier
(see also the translation in
The purpose of sermons
The Easter message: God is powerful! Jesus is alive today!
makes all the difference to each sermon
Preach ``God is in charge! Change! Improve! It is possible!''
This will add momentum to those who want to grow in God's ways.
Preach to increase our awareness of God, His power, His will,
His love and His gifts
Preach to show that God is at work in our world
and we are helping Him
Preach to strengthen our motivation to serve Him
and to devote our life to Him
Preach to allow your hearers experience their inner striving for
closeness to God, the longing of their soul
Preach invitation and encouragement to trust, to commit ourselves,
to change, to obey, to resist, to love, to endure, to grow stronger,
to risk, to be open to God
Preach to show that this can be done and how; how God and other
Christians can give support
Preach in such a way that your message becomes a gospel:
``If this is really true then life becomes so much ... easier,
... more meaningful, ... more challenging, ... more exciting'',
and make sure that it really is true, and that your hearers
can realize it.
Let the sermon be a shower that refreshes our daily devotion to
Questions for self-examination I
How did I change from one who only went through the motions
to one who became genuine?
What made me realize God's power in my life?
What helped me to prepare for God?
What made me grow, realize, trust, take risks?
Preach what has been a power in your own life (as if explaining
to your child what a particular bible text affected in your life)
Questions for self-examination II
Math. 5:48 - The 11th commandment
Matth. 6:33 - Does it become clear by what I say
that this is the most important decision in the life of a Christian?
Matth. 11:28-30 - Does my message feel like that?
Matth. 13:44-46 - Does this show in what I preach?
Rom. 1:16 - Does this show in my message?
Rev. 2:4; 3:15 - Do I live up to this? Do I teach this?
Rev. 2:7+11+17+26; 3:5+12+21; 21:7 - Do I have ears to hear?
Rev. 21:3-5 - Can I convey a glimpse of this?
Preach to give eyes to the blind and ears to the deaf
Questions for self-examination III
Do I teach what is of concern to my audience?
Do I teach what might change, alert, strengthen them?
What is needed to help the congregation grow?
(not the numbers but the persons!)
What does God expect me to say?
What would I like to say if no one would take offense?
Why don't I do it? What or whom do I fear? Should I?
not repeating what we know about the world, but what
we know how God overcomes the world
not ``... we didn't make much headlines ...'' but
``you know, we should not expect much headlines ...'' (Matth. 6:1-18)
not ``would we be able to do ...?'' but
``how to get closer to doing ...'' (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:25-32)
not questions, but
examples; models of being, changing, etc. (Hebr. 12:1)
not ``I am not sure we ...'' but
God's word is clarity, light (Gen. 1:3; John 8:12).
Have courage to speak His word in His authority
(Luke 10:16; 1 Peter 4:11)
Mission: Attracting Outsiders
Preach so that those no longer familiar with the
message of Christ can understand, and get new hope
People yearn for values, for guidance. Pass on the best!
People hibernate for another year, waiting for the day they hear
something that moves them to change.
Pass on what you know to be real! Rom. 10:14
Do not fear opposition! (Matth. 10:20; John 3:11; 6:60+66-68;
Make the sermon an invitation to become a new person; ensure
that it really is an invitation.
Preaching in the bible
Study how Jesus, the apostles, the prophets preach,
and learn from them.
God teaches the prophets how to preach, and prepares them;
Jer. 1:6; 4:3; 6:16; 7:1-8; 23:28-29;
Ez. 2:1-7; 3:17-21; Mal. 2:5-7;
Paul teaches Timothy and Titus what to say;
1 Tim. 4:6-16; 2 Tim. 4:2+5; Tit. 1:9;
O Lord, power of life, have mercy on us who fail to live up to what
you wanted to give us. Make us passionately desire to grow in your
ways, to expect the fullness of your grace, not to be content with
our compromises. Make us long for the living water, which creates
life and love, that we overflow with compassion and sensitivity.
Transform our cold hearts into glowing fires so that others feel
your power and catch fire themselves. Give us patience, strength
and excitement to live our lives with you and for you. Make
us instruments of your will, living letters of your love, so that what
we say and do speaks of you. Amen
Gedanken zum Leben als Christ
My Views on the Christian Way of Life
Science and Faith
home page (http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum)
Arnold Neumaier (Arnold.Neumaier@univie.ac.at)