Last week, I laid out the case for using sermons written by other pastors. The truth is that nothing we preach is original, and preaching is God’s word speaking through our own experiences and personality. Many of you had some great insights on the best ways to do so. I wanted to lay out some “best practices” when using another message from another pastor.
Take time to read the Scripture that the message is based on. As you read it, take note of what God is saying to you through it. As God speaks to you through the Scripture, let God speak to you through the sermon. As you are marinating in the Scripture and the message, you’ll realize that not all of the message will connect to you. That’s ok! That means that you can leave that out and preach what God is speaking to you to speak to your people.
Don’t be like the Rob Bell thief. Only Rob Bell can preach Rob Bell. But if that dude gave Rob credit and didn’t spend so much time memorizing it word for word, but gave it his own unique spin it would have been more effective and I would’ve have enjoyed talking with him about using Rob Bell.
If you’re using an Andy Stanley message, make sure you give credit to Andy for inspiring the message. The customize it! Don’t use Andy’s stories, Andy’s examples or illustrations…because that would be straight up lying and it’s awkward. use your own stories and examples. As well as add your own insight to the Scripture and the points.
This is where you get to focus on HOW you present the message, not necessarily WHAT you present. So be creative! Change up the color scheme, swap out illustrations, add points, take points away. Make the message something that will bless your people and help them grow and develop into the men and women God wants them to be.
I had someone tell me that they were at a church where the pastor preached word for word a Mark Driscoll message. Even using the same anecdotes and it was a during a series that lasted numerous weeks. That’s either a sign of laziness or burnout.
As a preacher, I hope you are reading widely and listening to lots and lots of messages from different preachers. What I like about that is I get a sense of how different guys can look at the same text and get the same themes. Sometimes it helps me know how I want to formulate my idea. But rather than taking a Rick Warren message and preaching it…I’ll take Rick Warren, mix in some Len Sweet, see how Tim Keller used it and then bring in my own take and the message ends up being practical like Warren, outside the box like Sweet but also theologically rigorous, with some sort of heavy metal reference:)
What ends up happening is that you create something that is unique and powerful that is tailormade for your congregation and community.
What are some of the best practices you use when you’re using the message from another preacher?