Engaging Other People Creates Freshness

Engaging Other People Creates Freshness in Preaching

We are considering how to keep your preaching fresh.  The first post in this series is   In this post we’ll see how engaging other people creates freshness in preaching to your congregation.

What Does “Engaging Other People” Mean?

Let me give you an example from a recent sermon I heard.   The theme of the pastor’s sermon was to celebrate how God provides for his people.  He referred to the book of Exodus, focusing on how God provided water from a rock.

Exodus 17:6
“I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink. So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.”

As a visual, there was a large rock on stage.   The preacher  invited volunteers, and chose a young man to come up.  The teenager took the small stick from the pastor’s hand, and hit the rock (I suspect it was made of cardboard).   The preacher encouraged him to hit it with a larger stick.  He  attempted that, too..

The pastor thanked the young man, and went on to explain that it wasn’t in the details of how the rock was struck, but the fact that God supplied for his thirsty people.

What’s the Point of Engaging Other People?

For those few moments, everyone in the congregation was paying attention.  Why?  Because they didn’t know what was going to happen?  What would be the result of the demonstration?  Would water come out?  It it didn’t, what did that mean?  How would this relate to the theme, that God provides for his people?

It took only a few minutes of sermon time, but it captured attention.  That’s the point.

Some Examples of Engaging Other People

Let’s look at some other examples of how engaging other people creates freshness in preaching to your people.

I preached on Paul’s exhortation to keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).  I decided to use a tactic presented in the movie, Dead Poet’s Society.  In one scene Robin Williams directs his students to begin walking in a circle in the courtyard of the school.  Soon the young men are walking in step with each other.  There is a power to fit in with what others are doing.  So, I invited a man in the congregation to join me walking across the front of the sanctuary.  While walking, we chatted about what he was doing in his work, his family, etc.  But subtly, it began to happen.  We were walking at the same pace.

I then applied this to the way we get into lock step with the world, but we can choose to do that with the Spirit.

Another great use of engaging other people is to have someone demonstrating what you’re talking about while you speak.  I once invited the owner of a garden shop to prune a tree on the side of the stage while I preached on the idea of God pruning us from John 15:

John 15:1-2 New International Version The Vine and the Branches 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[ a] so that it will be even more fruitful.

One more.  A friend of mine preached on how God forms us into his image.

18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[a] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.[b] For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

While he preached, an artist from the congregation was carving a block of wood into the image of a fish similar to that being projected on the screen.


Think about how you can use other people to keep your preaching fresh for your people.