Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

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
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Some of the toughest lessons reap the greatest rewards.

    10 Tough Lessons Every Pastor Should Remember in Ground-Shaking Trials

    One is that your suffering may turn out to be the highest compliment the Father ever gave you.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • 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.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

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