What makes a “Good Sermon”?

In order to generate more dialogue on Wesleyansermons.com and foster an environment of shared learning, we will occasionally provide a “Question of the Week.” Our hope, whether you are a preacher or someone who listens to preaching, is that you will engage this post with your own thoughts by commenting below.

Here it is, our first “Question of the Week”:

All of us have convictions about what makes a sermon good or bad. In your opinion, what is one thing that makes a sermon a good sermon?

Respond in the comments box below and let us know!

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15 thoughts on “What makes a “Good Sermon”?

  1. A good sermon is when the preacher hears the Spirit’s voice through the message. A great sermon is when at least one other person also hears the Spirit’s voice through the message.

    • I like this Mark. Your comments remind us that one of the main things that make a sermon good or great is the presence of the Spirit to and through the preacher and in and among the listeners.
      Peace,
      Lenny

  2. I think an effective sermon should always leave the congregation thinking. Too many sermons are flowery and sweet, with the pastor not wanting to offend anyone. There is a time for that, but perole need to be shown the path to Christ, and it’s not an easy path. We all fall of at some point, and we need to be put back on the right road. I like to hear sermons that challenge me to be a better man for Christ.

  3. One characteristic of a good sermon is that it makes the listener question themselves in some area and though provoking enough to stick with you throughout the week and not just on Sunday.

    • True, Paul, true. Now, if a good sermon reveals the Gospel it begs the question, what is the Gospel? You feel like tackling this one…I know it’s pretty big but you asked for it:-)
      Lenny

      • lol – I had actually wrote a few lines to qualify my initial response, but then deleted them. There are probably several headings we could put under “gospel,” but what I meant was revelation of God in general, and Jesus Christ in particular, both in person and works, that leads to human transformation.

        • Paul, I couldn’t have said this better. Every sermon should have the Gospel, a revelation of God through Christ. Too many sermons give lots of good advice about finances or marriage, for example, that can be applied without any relational connection to God. While these “life-application” sermons are helpful, they are only a bandaid over gapping wounds, unless the sermon is a revelation of God that leads to encounter with God.
          Lenny

    • Al, thanks for including the word “creatively” here. Sometimes we preachers feel stifled in our preaching. We assume that if we are going to get the biblical text “right” we have to throw our imaginative creativity out the window. This assumption turns preaching into a logical, analytical lecture that often misses the “mood” of the biblical text we preach. Preaching is at least as much art as it is science. Thanks,
      Lenny

  4. A good sermon must be driven by the text. The message must be conformed to fit the passage and not the other way round. I also think a good sermon is expository. It should be developed from a single unit of thought found in the Word. So many preachers have abandoned this type of preaching in favor of topical preaching. They come to the Bible with a message in mind searching for passages to proof text their sermon. I think our Reformed brothers do a much better job at expository preaching. It seems that most of the great expository preachers of our day are all from the Reformed camp. I would like to see our church turn back to this style of preaching and put the Bible back in the driver’s seat and not the pastor.

    • Amen! I have heard so many so-called ‘sermons’ that use a text to ‘launch’ into a topical talk, but doesn’t go back to the text…I heard one the other day at a district camp–started with Philippians 4, but Scripture was not quoted after he introduced the topic of contentment. Couldn’t he have used several proverbs and the lives of many Biblical saints to drive home the important points?

  5. Well, it’s a difficult question to answer.

    I’ve heard great sermons that were topical.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were expository.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were creative.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were more of a lecture.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were animated.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were monotone.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were well prepared.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were “from the hip.”
    I’ve heard great sermons that were bold and confident.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were timid and reluctant.
    I’ve heard great sermons with a lot of stories.
    I’ve heard great sermons with a lot of application.
    I’ve heard great sermons with a lot of exegesis.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were educated.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were simple.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were gentle.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were “in your face.”
    I’ve heard great sermons that were “old school.”
    I’ve heard great sermons that were modern.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were a rifle shot.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were more of a shotgun.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were original.
    I’ve heard great sermons that were borrowed.

    I like sermons that are conversational.
    Others like sermons that are fire and brimstone.

    So, I figure the answer cannot be related in any way to style or personality.

    The truth is a great sermon could be all/any/none of the above.

    So my answer is that what make a sermon good/great is found in the words of Psalm 51:7-17 which contains the words, “Open my lips, Lord…”

  6. I good sermon leaves me wanting to rush to the Word when I get home and meditate on the meassage for my own growth. also a good message makes me motivated to take notes or grab my tape recorder when driving.