Every Preacher's Checklist: 20 Questions Before You Preach

train_others_to_preach_997344411.jpg

Bob Hostetler drew up a checklist of twenty questions that he asked each speaker to use to evaluate his or her planned message.

When we were first starting Cobblestone Community Church, I would host an occasional “speakers’ breakfast” in an effort to train home-grown speaking talent for our teaching ministry. In developing the material for those informal workshops, I drew up a checklist of 20 questions that I asked each speaker to use to evaluate his or her planned message. It remains a mental checklist (though more intuitive for me than mechanical) that I try to apply to my own speaking. Here are the 20 questions:

 Do I grab the listener’s attention as soon as I start speaking?
 Does the talk start where people are (with their culture, needs, problems, issues, questions)?
 Does it come on too strong, too fast?
 Am I teaching the listener something he didn’t already know?
 Am I communicating what God says, not my opinions?
 Have I included an introduction of myself and words of welcome to the listener?
 Have I included a restatement somewhere in the talk of either Cobblestone’s mission (“loving people into life-changing encounters with God”) or distinctives (community-oriented, student-friendly, seeker-aware, outward-focused)?
 Have I offered an elementary (but not condescending) explanation of the text that will help even a Bible newbie find it without feeling stupid (as well as avoidance of “church lingo” as much as possible)?
 Have I revealed anything of myself in the talk without revealing anything inappropriate? (So much the better if it’s vulnerable, self-effacing and/or winsome.)
 Do I interact with my listeners in the talk (e.g., mentioning people’s names, asking for responses, etc.)?
 Have I included humor?
 Am I being realistic instead of shallow? Will my listener believe I understand what he’s really going through?
 Have I touched (not manipulated) my listener’s emotions?
 Is my talk focused enough (instead of rambling)?
 Have I played a part in meeting a felt need?
 Is the “solution” I propose realistic? Life-related? Biblical?
 Does the structure of my talk logically lead to the conclusion/application?
 Have I left out anything important, crucial?
 Have I given clear application for both a seeker and a Christian that answers the question, “OK, what am I supposed to do with this information now/today/this week?”
 Have I made reference to how my listener can find further help (e.g., prayer counselors)?

 
In recent years, a few things have changed (for example, instead of either mission statement or distinctives, we try to include in every message a mention of our mission statement or discipleship strategy, which is summarized by the words “seek, share, serve”). But overall, the questions still serve pretty well.
 
So what questions would you add or subtract? Or revise?  
I’m desperate for God. Desperate to make a difference. Desperate to find some sanity in my life and ministry. And because I am in desperate and constant need of help, prayer, counsel, grace, and forgiveness.

More from Bob Hostelter or visit Bob at http://desperatepastor.blogspot.com/

Please Note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, uncivil and off-topic. Read a detailed description of our Comments Policy.
article_images/God_Love_316422517.jpg

WATCH: Tim Keller: A Deeper Understanding of God’s Love

“Everything about God’s nature drives Him powerfully toward you.” Share this video with someone who needs to hear that today.