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Stop Starting With the Text

A new approach to engaging your hearers.

Stop Starting With the Text

I'm proposing that preachers stop starting with the text. At first glance, the reader might find this proposition radical, if not outright repulsive. "It's certainly not biblical preaching," some might argue. But hang on and hear me out … keep starting the sermon's development with the text, but stop starting the sermon's delivery with the text.

"Open your Bible to Leviticus 23:22," the preacher begins. "When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field …" they continue, believing this approach best honors the Word of God they so desperately want their hearers to embrace. Most agree biblical literacy is low. If so, isn't the antidote getting to the text right away? Isn't an answer to the disregard listeners have for Scripture to regard the text by giving it chronological primacy? The answer is no for the following reasons.

Overcome the apathetic hearer

The sermon hearer doesn't care. ...

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Displaying 1–5 of 10 comments


September 15, 2014  12:26am

Sorry didn't leave stars on my last post just wanted to let you know that I did really love the article.

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September 14, 2014  10:42pm

Very helpful. Thank you.

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Sarah Sumner

September 12, 2014  2:37am

Helpful article, Dr. Rod. You are a good evangelism coach as well as homiletics teacher. I hope you continue writing on this topic. I'm interested to hear more. I wonder how alive congregations would be if every person in attendance actually listened and understood every sermon. Makes me want to be a better preacher.

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September 11, 2014  5:32pm

I first started attending church 15 years ago when I was 35. This is the method that captured my attention back then and continues to do so today.

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September 11, 2014  3:20pm

I have been mentored under Dr. Casey's approach for almost 20 years, and as Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruit" - we have had the great privilege of seeing literally hundreds of adult baptisms in my tenure. I would contend that it is largely due to Dr. Casey's insistence that the move from "life to truth" is the most engaging way to cooperate with the Spirit's work in a person's life. I hope many pastors/teachers benefit from this conventional but amazingly effective wisdom!

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