More Ideas For Surprise to Keep Your Preaching Fresh

More Ideas for Surprise to Keep Your Preaching Fresh

We are exploring strategies for keeping your preaching fresh for your listeners.  We’ve seen so far that you need to schedule time to be creative in your sermon preparation, that aphorisms help, and in the last post, we began the consideration of how surprises work, too.  In this post we are going to reflect on some more ideas to keep your preaching fresh for your audience.

Just a note before we add ideas.  Surprises don’t work if you do them every week.  But when you slip one in every few weeks, people will sit up and take notice.

Singing in the Sermon Is One More Idea to Keep Your Preaching Fresh

There are a variety of ways you can surprise your congregation with singing.  I had an uncle who began to do this after he retired from active ministry.  He occasionally would be asked to preach as a guest in churches in the area where he lived.  One time he began to quote a song that was quite familiar to the audience.  To the surprise of the people, he stopped quoting, and started singing the song.  Right away, people’s focus went to the sermon.  In fact, he became quite popular, and had a reputation of being “the singing preacher”.  Of course, as a guest, he was able to do it regularly, each time he preached in a different church.  However, he indicated that people payed attention to a greater degree as they were waiting on the time he would begin singing.

Of course, this assumes that your singing voice is up to this idea.

Even Quoting a Song Can Be a Surprise

I have found that people’s antenna go up even when I just quote a song.  The poetry of a song can catch peoples’ attention.  The surprise is heightened if you’ve got it memorized.  You see, sometimes a song is so well known that people sing it without really hearing the message.  Speaking the words brings home your point in a surprise.

Inviting the Congregation to Sing Is A Surprise

One preacher was reflecting on the various roles of angels as recorded in the Bible.  One role of angels is to bring us home to heaven.  He told the story of a woman who was dying.  She had been in a coma, but suddenly was awake and looking around the room.  A friend who was standing vigil, said, “Gladys, what do you see?”  She said, “I see angels.”  “Where are they?” the friend asked.  The woman began pointing around the room saying, “There’s one, and one is next to you, too.”

The story itself caught peoples’ attention, but the point was deepened as the preacher began to sing, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Comin’ For To Carry Me Home”.  He paused and invited the audience to join him.  At the end of the song, he just let the silence build for several moments before he moved on to the next point.  In the silence, I noticed tears on many of the older members of the congregation.

One More Idea for Using Music as a Surprise

One other idea is to use some of the incredibly creative people in contemporary Christian music as ways to surprise people.  The video below was used as an introduction to a sermon on the section of the Lord’s Prayer that prays, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  There are a multitude of such possibilities if you have the technology to play them for your congregation.

These are all more ideas for surprise to keep your preaching fresh for your church.  Use them, and you will find that people will be talking about your messages and remembering them more.