KTL Finishing Touches: How we end our sermons and services

As we are finishing up our KTL semester with a few of our teens preaching through the book of Job, we have had some questions come up about what to do after you preach and after a service.

What should you say to everyone who just tells you, “Good job!”?  First of all, “good job” really is the last thing a Christ-centered preacher wants to hear.  A Christ-centered preacher would much rather hear: this is what God taught me, this is the sin in my life that has been revealed, this is how I’ve been challenged to change, etc.  So whenever I’m done with a sermon and someone tells me simply “good job” then I simply say in return: “Thank you for the encouragement, but please know that all glory goes to Jesus!”  (Bonus note: I have been told before “that was a d*** fine sermon, son” after a message!)

Is it okay to ask people how you did…after your sermon?  I only have one or two people that I like to ask that, and they are always people who will honestly tell me the bad along with the good.  They know me and preaching well enough to do that.  So, instead of asking them how I did, I always beat my own self to the punch and I quickly ask them: “What did God teach you tonight?”  I ask them that so that the focus is on God doing the teaching, on God’s Word, and off of my performance.  That also beats them to the punch from just saying “good job”.   Continue reading

ktl 2010 – 09 – preaching with Intros, Conclusions, and Problems for your text

Free file for youth pastors:

KTL 09 – Preaching Intros Conclusions and Problems for Your Passage (mp3)

This was our last “in class” KTL session.  We spent the first part of the class hearing from the four guys who are preaching the Job passages.  With them, we went over their passages truth statement, how it points to Christ, New Testament correlated reference, application statement, and main sermon illustration.

I taught the students on how to introduce, show the audience their need to listen, and conclude their sermon…during the 2nd half of the class.  Introductions are absolutely critical to engaging your audience, arresting their attention, and keeping their attention.  Many times people use introductions as a way to introduce the topic they’re preaching that morning.  I rather like to use an introduction story to introduce the first main thought in the passage I’m preaching.  I feel like if we’re just introducing a topic, then people automatically assume that we’re preaching a topic.  But if we introduce the first major thought of the passage we’re preaching, then they will be encouraged that we’re preaching God’s Word and not just some topic on life.  Introductions should always be a story…and a personal story if at all possible.  In the introduction of your sermon, you want to start off with a story that would connect with their world (from your personal life), then you’ll lead them to the Word, and then the end of the sermon is leaving them back in their world.  Introductions should be engaging, somewhat shocking, humorous, and absolutely attention getting.  Introductions should usually only last around 20% of the total sermon time.   Continue reading

Student Leadership Training at CBSM

I had a past professor/friend who asked me what we did to train leaders within our student ministry.  I thought I’d share with you my most honest answer:

“First of all, we define leadership here at CBSM as: following Christ and bringing others along with you. So, our first focus is to center all of students onto Christ, and then we offer leadership training for those who want to both follow Christ and lead others toward Him. We do this in several different ways of course. First, we do this through preaching. I am convinced that I am called to primarily preach to my 12 grade guys even though there are students present in the room all the way down to 7th grade. I’ve learned that if I focus on my 12th grade guys, then I will reach them and all other students under them. But if I focus on younger students, I will get the younger students back…but I won’t get any of the older students for the most part. So training for leadership first starts through our preaching because preaching is what cultivates a heart for Christ most. We have a very specific system of preaching at CBSM… In 6 years (from 7th – 12th grade) we are preaching through the entire Bible (in order from Genesis – Revelation) and also through all 13 major Christian doctrines (from Doctrine of Christ – Doctrine of End Times). Our preaching is usually 45 minutes long, always Christ-centered, always expository, always grounded in the gospel, and always in your face challenging. That is what we’ve found produces and identifies leaders best.   Continue reading

ktl 2010 – 08 – preaching with illustrations for your text

free files for youth pastors:

KTL 08 – Preaching with ILLUSTRATIONS for your Passage (mp3)

In this KTL session, we reviewed over our sermon structure from introductions all the way to conclusions.  It again is Intro, Need, OT Story, Truth, Christ, NT Passage, Illustration, Application.  I then had the 4 main KTL preacher boys give me their truth statements, explanation of how the passage pointed to the person and work of Christ, their NT passage, and their application statement (challenge).

The second half of the class we talked about illustrations.  Illustrations are not just stories, and its not just the next to last section of a sermon in our structure.  Rather, a good preacher illustrates all the way through his sermon.  The purpose of illustration is first and foremost to bring your passage of Scripture to life.  That is done through the way you read the text out-oud, the way you add detail and description while you talk about your passage of Scripture, and the way you tell life stories from today to give better insight into your Scripture passage.  We never start with illustrations, but illustrations should only and always flow out of your understanding and direction of the passage of Scripture you are preaching.  One of the best illustrations in the Bible is Nathan to David in 2 Samuel 12:1-7.  Nathan is not telling David a story for the sake of that story itself, but rather he is telling David the story for the sake of the truth behind the story.  Which means, illustrations are more like a window than a painting. We don’t want our congregation to sit back and admire the illustration like they would a portrait.  Rather, we want our listeners to sit back and admire God’s Worth and Truth through the illustrations we give.  We also talk about how to find good illustrations, where they come from, and what not to do.  So take a listen!

ktl 2010 – 07 – preaching the application of your text

free files for youth pastors:

KTL 07 – Preaching the Application of Your Text (mp3)

In this KTL session, we reviewed the last week’s lesson on how to point your passage to the gospel of Christ, and then our 4 main preacher dudes discussed how they saw their personal passages point to the person and work of Christ.  The second part of the session was me teaching them the importance and the way to preach applicationally from their passage.  Hope you enjoy.

ktl 2010 – 06 – preaching the gospel in your text

free files for youth pastors:

KTL 06 – Preaching the Gospel in Your Text (mp3)

In this KTL session, our 4 main preacher guys discussed the main truths they found for their passages (from the last week’s lesson).  Then I taught them on the importance of pointing their passage to the gospel by seeing the passage’s perspective on the person and work of Christ…and the response of man in repentance and faith.  Take a listen.

KTL 2010 – 05 – Preaching the Truth of Your Text

Free files for youth pastors:

KTL 05 – Preaching the Truth of Your Text (mp3)

During this KTL session, we reviewed last week’s session on how to preach the story of the text.  I went back over a few important thoughts with them on that.  Then I had our 4 main preachers share the story of their passage in 2 minutes or less.  They did an excellent job!

The last half of the class was teaching them how to preach the TRUTH of the text.  Truth is so important in Scripture.  Jesus prayed to His Father to sanctify His people through the Truth of His Word (John 17:17).  Truth is what changes lives.  We must bring the truths of out of the stories that we hang on, believe, obey, and live out.  Truth is what God uses to change lives into the likness of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life.  All truths point to Him.  It is best to keep it simple and let every sermon boil down to one truth.  If we preach one truth, they can focus on one truth.  Let the truth come out of the passage, let the truth be the overarching theme of the passage God is getting across, present the truth in 10 words or less, and make sure the truth is something to believe and not to do (that will be the challenge).  Ok, I’m done typing now…listen to the mp3 for the rest!

KTL 2010 – 04 – Preaching the Story of Your Text

Free files for youth pastors:

KTL 04 – Preaching the Story of Your Text (mp3)

During this KTL session, we reviewed last week about how to see Christ as the center of the text you are preaching.  I reviewed with them a little on how to do it, the importance of it, and then I heard back from then on how they saw Christ as the center of the text they are studying to preach. 

The last half of the class session we talked about the importance of the story of their text.  Story and narrative are important to every culture and ever age.  From young kids to elderly adults, telling stories is one of the major modes of conversation.  People remember stories, so it is a huge memory tool for preachers.  People usually remember the illustrations of a sermon than anything else.  I think that is because we don’t tell the story of the text well enough.  We must remember, the Scriptures are not God’s truths that are illustrated by biblical stories.  Rather, the Scriptures are God’s story that are interpreted by His truths.  So the challenge this week was to understand the story behind the passage they are preaching, to tell it well, to see how it connects with the story of the entire book their text fits in, how it fits into the story of the gospel, and the story of all salvation history and eternity.   Continue reading

KTL 2010 – 03 – How to Teach Christ as the Center

Free resources for youth pastors:

KTL 03 – How to Teach Christ as the Center (mp3)

            The Christocentric hermeneutic continues!  Remember that Christocentric means “Christ-centered” and hermeneutic means “view or interpretation of Scripture.”  This lesson is extremely important on how to preach Christ in every sermon and from every Biblical text.  I believe these are the keys to a truly powerful sermon that changes lives!

            Should we point to Christ in every sermon?  From what we learned in the last lesson…absolutely!  Usually we hear most in our churches about the will and the glory of God – and Jesus is both of them (Eph 1:9-11, Phil 2:9-11).  We also saw that all of Scripture is ultimately pointing us to the person and the work of Christ – His identity and His accomplishment – Who He is and What He has done, is doing, and will do forever.  Preaching is calling people to become like the person of Christ by trusting in His work!   Continue reading

KTL 2010 – 02 – Why Christ is the Center

free resources for youth pastors:

KTL 02 – Why Jesus is the Center (mp3)

            When it comes to teaching teens how to preach and teach the Word, they have to first understand the whole goal of the Word.  So many people feel like they can’t possibly remember every sermon they hear from week to week at church.  Others think that sermons are just different topics of self-help every week from their pastor as a counselor.  So, we must first of all focus students onto the focus of the Word: the glory of Christ.

            Before we get into all that, it is helpful to walk students through the many different purposes of preaching that exist today.  You’ll be surprised to go through these:  Best Life:  live your life for God and He will make your life better, healthier, wealthier.  Morality:  the Bible is written to give us tips and outlines for how to live as better people.  Fire and Brimstone:  many preachers preach the fear of hell, Satan, and sin every Sunday.  Fame: popularity and money drive many to preach merely in a way others love to hear.  Liberals: the Bible isn’t fully true, but it is just a book of literature to teach us about faith.  Educator: focusing on the lexical definition of every Word from the original language.  Watered down:  everything just comes down to God’s love for all humanity.  False Gospel:  The Bible isn’t ultimately about Jesus Christ, but its about anything else.   Continue reading