Avoiding Jigsaw Puzzle Sermons
Sermon achieves clarity through coherent structure.
I am not a puzzle person. I do not want to invest the time and effort necessary to put 1001 apparently unrelated jigsaw pieces into coherent order. Every Christmas when my in-laws bring out a new puzzle, I run for cover. Those who sit under our pulpit ministries show a similar lack of patience for puzzling sermons.
When people listen to a sermon, they do not want to be forced to invest the effort necessary to rearrange our thoughts into a coherent order. They want the preacher to do that. The people who populate our pews want the components of a central idea (no random thoughts or extraneous pieces) provided when they are needed (not in a haphazard jumble) in a manner that leads to a conclusion (no wandering). People want sermons structured for clarity, not as a jigsaw puzzle.
The clarity of the clinic sermon, "Add a Leaf to the Table," testifies to its good structure. It has a discernable introduction, body, and conclusion, which together communicate a main idea. ...