Preacher integrity
Have you inadvertently "copied" someone else's sermon? (Lightstock)

Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing his reflections and practical insights as a ministry leader on Greenelines, a new podcast. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.


Teresa Fry Brown makes a startling statement in her presentation of Charles Adams’ nine suggestions to preachers in her book Weary Throats and New Songs. She says, “One lacks homiletical integrity, authority, creativity, character, calm and spirituality if one’s entire preaching life is stolen.”

Brown notes that one should at least credit a source if one uses another’s introduction, alliteration or other device.

Stealing sermons has some problematic aspects. But one that we don’t often discuss is how stealing sermons hurts the thief, because he or she slowly loses the God-given spark of creativity that is used to put together strong sermons.

When you steal a sermon, it becomes a greater temptation to steal another one, and then as the difficult work of putting together a sermon interacts with the reality that stealing is a lot easier, we become less able to actually create that sermon.

In addition, there is a great possibility that we could lose credibility with people. I remember hearing a particularly strong sermon from a well-regarded preacher. Later in my seminary study, I was reading a book of sermons and found that sermon that the other preached gave word for word. This brought into question all of the sermons that he had preached. I began to wonder: Had he stolen many other of his sermons? Don’t let that happen to you.

I heard another preacher beginning to whoop, and he simply stole the catch phrases and whooping devices from two or three preachers and mashed them together. What saved the preacher was that the devices came from preachers from a different theological tradition, and thus many in the congregation had not heard them before.

Imagine the surprise of your Baptist visitor when she is not impressed by your Pentecostal preacher’s whoop because she heard it before by a different preacher at her own church.

Such preaching may get you an “Amen,” but it seriously calls into question your own integrity as a preacher. God has called you to preach to this people at this time.

If God wanted that other preacher that you are copying to preach, then God would have placed that preacher where you stand. Preaching is hard work, but the benefits are enormous; don’t shortcut the process for a few ill-gotten accolades.  

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds an M.Div with an emphasis in homiletics and an M.S. in computer science. Visit Sherman at SoulPreaching.com.

For the original article, visit churchleaders.com.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Explorers require significant input.

    How to Receive Clarity When Torn Between Choices

    Decision making is risky without guidance from the Holy Spirit.

  • Lyndon Johnson

    63-Year-Old Law Still 'Threatens' Churches, Pastors

    Read why this law is so dangerous to the kingdom culture.

  • A new path is opening now.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Opening Doors for Kingdom-Minded Businesses

    Find out how to activate this prophetic word of increase in your company.

  • Do you have the proper training to be a soldier in God's army?

    The Training You Need as a Soldier in God's Army

    We are in already in a war. Let us enter the fight as fully trained soldiers with the full armor ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Local congregations are called to become Christ-like in their methodology, mission and essence.

    10 Traits of the Jesus-Driven Church

    If we attempt to walk in these, we will leave a powerful imprint on the world around us.

  • Greeter ministry

    5 Common Greeter Mistakes to Correct in the New Year

    Like those involved in any other ministry, greeters can get in a rut.

  • Saddleback Church

    One Clear-Cut Sign Your Church Is Mature and Healthy

    A church's health is measured by its obedience to this important mandate, not by its seating ...

  • Evangelist John Burton

    What My Third Church Plant Might Look Like

    Here are some things Evangelist John Burton might change if he decided to start another church.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders
button
button