I love to preach and teach. Here are some things I try to think about when I’m preparing a message or preaching to the church or a youth meeting or midweek class. I don’t always do all these things, and I don’t always do them well, but I try to keep them in mind.
I want to be excited about the topic of the message, and excited to preach it to the church.
I want to be doctrinally sound and preach the truth of the passage.
I want to preach in a way that everyone can understand even children and teens in the congregation.
I want to consider my listeners—some are doing well, some are hurting or struggling, some are long-time believers, some are new, some have yet to believe.
I want to get into the message quickly.
I want to deliver the message with passion and joy.
I want to make the passage come alive for the listeners. For them to see and feel and smell the scene (if it’s a narrative), to feel like they are there.
I want to have a really good illustration or two. If I’m speaking to youth I definitely want to use gripping, interesting illustrations
If possible, I want to have some humor (especially with youth).
I want to show why the topic is so important, or so amazing, or so wonderful for us to know.
I want to show how this message testifies to Christ, displays Christ, what it teaches us about Christ.
I want to stir and excite my listeners to love Jesus and to take action for him. I want to stir the church to gratefulness for all God has done for us in Christ.
I want to show how the passage applies to our lives.
I want to reveal my own weaknesses and how I need the truth I’m preaching on. I want to preach first to myself.
I want to preach clearly and concisely. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I don’t want anyone to be bored.
I want to preach the gospel in every message and make a passionate appeal to believe in the historical, incarnate God, the Messiah, Jesus who became a man, lived a sinless life, died on a cross to pay for sins, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven and will someday return. I want these elements in every message.
I want to include those who have yet to believe in Jesus in my appeals.
I want to express to my listeners my care for them. That I want them to enjoy Christ. That I want to prepare them for this life and for eternity.
Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter. Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.