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Peter Scazzero

preaching skill

The Life Cycle of the Sermon

Most sermons follow a similar pattern: birth, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.

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What advice would you give to other preachers about this life cycle?

As long as preachers are willing to enter the process of life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, as long as they're willing to let the word pass through their life first, and as long as they're willing to suffer to bring a word from God, they'll do fine. My word to fellow preachers is, "Relax. You're not crazy. This is the normal process. No one is exempt—at least with sermons that transform lives." If I'm listening to someone else preach, I can always tell if they've surrendered to this process. I often say to myself when listening to a great message, I know they paid a price to get the sermon to this place. And I'm in awe of the work of God. I know they didn't just get up there and wing it. I appreciate their labor of love—all the death and burial they've put into the sermon. And I'm very, very grateful.

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"Peter Scazzero is the founder and senior pastor of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York, and author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (Thomas Nelson)."

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Scott Vermillion

February 11, 2013  10:25am

Thanks for sharing your journey in preaching. I love the analysis, and it speaks true of the process that happens to me each week. It is easy to think that I don't have what it takes because the process of getting the message out seems to always take more time than I think it will. I appreciate your encouragement to see each part of the life cycle as important. I especially like your coaching on ascension. It's hard to let a sermon go and trust that God will use it however he wishes.

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Elder wells

February 06, 2013  11:57am

The word be like firery cannon ball just birthing forth with power. If the word dies its because its not being used the word will always stand. You know it's God so you have love to preach to those who want to hear it or not.

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February 06, 2013  12:01am

Thank you for your great insights. The term "Death stage" very well expresses one very serious dilemma that serious preachers are supposed to experience in their sermon preparation.

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Shug Bury

February 05, 2013  12:29pm

It is hard to describe to other's how God allows us to experience the message before it is even given. A painful yet sanctifying process. Thank you for the clear and discerning voice of wisdom. In preparation for the prison service this weekend, I will keep your article on the fresh on my mind.

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Rosalie Kwak

February 04, 2013  4:42pm

You're right Pete, It is easy to think you are crazy as you enter the "death" phase. Afraid that even all you've discovered and thought you've gained will be lost and is for naught. and then somehow God finds the gold in the dirt and shows it to you. I appreciate very much how you have articulated this process and gave examples from your own sermon journey. I find all of your thoughts helpful. Thank-you!

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