2 Preaching Lessons Learned from COVID-19 - Leaders.Church

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2 Preaching Lessons Learned from COVID-19

Video Transcript Below

Dick Hardy 0:00
Hey friend, it’s great to be with you on this leaders church video, and I am so happy to be with my friend, Chris Colvin. Chris serves as a sermon consultant and has served pastors around the country. I don’t know if you’ve done any international work yet, Chris?

Chris Colvin 0:15
I have worked with some missionaries. So, I can say I worked all over the country and around the world.

Dick Hardy 0:20
Honestly, I’ve connected with Chris over the last year or so. What I’ve been so impressed with is his attention to the nuances of preaching and the creation of sermons.

Dick Hardy 0:33
We’ve just walked through this unique time with COVID-19, where pastors are really trying to come to grips, many of you are online and so on. One of the things Chris and I talked about the other day, and I wanted to really do this video on this topic is that there really been two big lessons that have come out of the shutdown and COVID. Chris, I want you to just jump us right into those lessons that you see that pastors need to pay attention to.

Chris Colvin 1:02
I’ve talked to pastors throughout this pandemic. I’ve worked with them. I’ve consulted with them. One of the things I would say is, when something like this happens, a lot of times what we do is we just make do, we get through it, we get back to a normal or a new normal, or whatever it is. Then we forget those lessons and we move on. I think there’s some powerful lessons that we learned that we need to hold on to.

Chris Colvin 1:25
There are really two really important lessons, I think we learned, and one is the importance of sermon prep and the power of follow up. Those are the two things that over and over again, I’m hearing from pastors, they got it and a lot of them want to hang on to it, for sure.

Dick Hardy 1:40
Let’s talk about that first one, the sermon prep. Pastors have been doing sermon prep forever. So, what’s different about it now? What’s different now?

Chris Colvin 1:50
One of the things I saw is whenever pastors and churches moved to streaming online, on Sundays, a lot of them were preparing well in advance. A lot of them would actually record their messages on maybe a Thursday afternoon. What that did was it forced them to be even more prepared even further in advance.

Have you ever sat down to write your message for the weekend and realized you don’t know where to start? Take a look at the Sermon Starters PDF for a multitude of effective strategies to get you started.

Chris Colvin 2:12
I tell you something, this is something I’ve been pounding the drum for years, talking with pastors, trying to encourage them to have sermon prep both long term sermon prep, looking at their entire year, being maybe three months out on their sermon research, and then having their notes ready before the last minute.

Chris Colvin 2:33
That’s the one thing that really breaks my heart. I talked to pastors who will wait until Saturday night to finish their message for Sunday morning. Some of them say, you know, I work really well under pressure. And I say, “That’s wrong. It’s completely wrong. You don’t do your best work under pressure.”

Chris Colvin 2:50
In fact, this is one of the lessons that I’m hearing from pastors who have gotten their sermons done and maybe they recorded it on a Thursday or Friday afternoon. Then they don’t have anything on their plate again, until Sunday morning, when that service would stream during shutdown. They realize it was so nice to be able to shut that part, shut their book on Thursday, shut their notes, shut their Bible on Thursday and not have to worry about it over the next couple of days. It allowed them time to spend with their family. It allowed them time to relax and just let the spirit speak to them.

Chris Colvin 3:21
I know pastors that do that on a regular basis. Thursday, their notes are finished, they’re ready to go. They’ll look at it one more time on Saturday night. They have the whole weekend ahead of them where they can just relax, rest, and really be present with their family.

Chris Colvin 3:35
The other thing, though, that happens when you are just doing last minute prep, there’s going to be an emergency. You’re going to lose. A kid’s going to go to the emergency room. Something’s going to happen and you’re not going to be ready for Sunday morning.

Dick Hardy 3:47
That cannot happen. As a pastor, to use a very secular term, so for those of you who are very spiritual you’ll just have to tolerate me on this, Sunday morning is game day. It is game day for the greatest mission on the planet. You as a pastor have to be ready. I so appreciate what you’re talking about here, Chris, how the online preaching has really encouraged us and/or forced us to be prepared in advance.

Want your sermons to get better every single week? Check out It Takes a Team to learn about 4 teams you can build or involve in your sermons.

Dick Hardy 4:16
Well, let’s talk about that second one. You talk about the follow up.

Chris Colvin 4:20
Definitely. Follow up is another thing that pastors are realizing is something that is incredibly powerful, especially during the shutdown. Normally, follow up is done in person, right there, you’ve got a response time. You are praying with people, you’re laying on hands or you’re just hanging out with them after service right there on Sunday. That follow up is very natural.

Chris Colvin 4:42
Maybe your follow up is through your small groups. In some areas of the country, we weren’t allowed to meet in home. So, we were having to do it virtually, maybe over a zoom call or something like that. Almost every one of our churches was doing that.

Chris Colvin 4:55
So, they found there’s a really powerful impact to follow up. The follow up can happen online. It doesn’t just have to happen face-to-face, in person. That’s the best way to do it. But there is another way to do it where you can go online. You can go through social media and follow up with your people.

Dick Hardy 5:18
We were talking the other day. Let me see if I can get you to say it the way you said it, but you were talking about the preparation time goes up and when you hit Sunday, it’s over for you. Yet it’s the beginning for them. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Chris Colvin 5:36
Exactly. Right. As a preacher, think through this process for a second. When you preach that sermon on Sunday, you’re done with it, right? You’ve been practicing, you’ve been researching, you’ve been preparing all week long or for several months long. That has just really done something to you, and it’s so impactful. So, you present it to your audience and then you shut your book on Sunday, and on Monday morning, you’re starting on next week’s message.

Chris Colvin 6:00
But after you preach, your audience is just starting with what you shared with them. They’re just now starting to think about those things. The Holy Spirit is just now working on their heart. So, instead of you shutting it off as a pastor, you need to keep the tap open.

Have you ever sat down to write your message for the weekend and realized you don’t know where to start? Take a look at the Sermon Starters PDF for a multitude of effective strategies to get you started.

Chris Colvin 6:15
Social media is a great way to keep that going. Now, you could check in with them throughout the week. Maybe on Wednesday, you go online and say, “Hey, do you guys remember the main points, anybody putting those into practice this week?” Or you can take a clip from your sermon and just share it on Instagram or on Twitter or wherever you share it so people can look at it and they’re reminded of what they learned on Sunday.

Chris Colvin 6:38
It’s a way to take your Monday through Friday, and keep it connected to your Sunday. If you can do that, then your people are going to be more invested and they’re going to want to return the next week, as well for more.

Dick Hardy 6:50
That is so good. These two lessons I think are absolutely critical for pastors. So, Chris, if you’re doing a hitch up on this and a pastor says to you, “Okay, Chris, I’m tracking with you,” what is the one thing you want pastors to get out of what we’re talking about here today?

Chris Colvin 7:08
You know, I think you kind of alluded to it earlier, when you said, “Some of us are very spiritual about this” and you kind of gave us a little secular explanation about being game day or whatever. But I do think that some pastors shy away from being over prepared, and they do shy away from this type of follow up because they feel like it’s not spiritual enough. Well, the spirit is supposed to move spontaneously. And if I feel it, then I’ll do it. I don’t need to prepare.

Chris Colvin 7:32
But I can tell you something. The Holy Spirit can move on a Tuesday afternoon just as he can move on a Sunday morning. In fact, I believe that if you are more prepared during the week, then you are more ready to hear the Holy Spirit speak on Sunday, so that you can make those adjustments. You can make those moves. God will do something. He is God over space and time, and he can do something no matter what. And especially when we’re prepared and we’re ready to follow.

Dick Hardy 7:57
I love what you’re talking about. That is where, here at Leaders.Church, we want every pastor to be involving not only their cognitive skills as they study, but the Holy Spirit guiding them as they’re thinking through a Tuesday afternoon in preparation for Sunday morning.

Want your sermons to get better every single week? Check out It Takes a Team to learn about 4 teams you can build or involve in your sermons.

Dick Hardy 8:22
You know, one of the things that is coming down the pike here in the next few days is the offering of a brand new resource called the Preaching Track of Church University. You are watching right here, not the guy in the burgundy, but the guy in the blue, who is the presenter of the preaching track. Chris, could you give us a snapshot of what this offer is going to be in terms of the content that’s going to be available for pastors?

Chris Colvin 8:54
Absolutely. With a preaching track at Church University takes you step by step from beginning all the way through the end. From sermon prep, to writing, practice, presentation and even the follow up that we were talking about. So, the two things we were talking about and everything in between. It takes you step by step.

Chris Colvin 9:12
I’ve been doing this, and God’s given me the opportunity to do this for two and a half decades. I’ve been so blessed to partner with you, Dick to be able to share what God has taught me with people literally around the world. So, I’m really excited about offering this.

Dick Hardy 9:27
We are pumped for this. I was just going through the modules. Chris has created 10 different modules in the Preaching Track here. Probably, I think we ended up with what 42 videos in there, discussion guides, templates, etc. There are a bunch of bonuses in there.

Dick Hardy 9:48
So, keep your eye peeled for, when the email lands in your inbox, because you’re going to want to grab this so fast. It’s going to help you be better as a pastor and help you as the Holy Spirit is guiding you in the creation, the crafting of your sermons, to be able to communicate the truth of the gospel in ways you’ve never been able to do before.

Dick Hardy 10:08
So, thank you very much, Chris, for your work in putting the Preaching Track together. Thank you, as well, for these two lessons they give us today. And to the viewer, thanks very much for hanging out with us. Make it a great one and be blessed.

Check out these blogs on preaching, as well.

It Takes a Team to Create Sermons
Why Should You Ask for Help with Preaching?
Sermon Illustrations: Finding the “Just Right One
The Top 5 Preaching Questions Asked
Emotionally Healthy Preaching
Doug Clay on Preaching Sermons Online
5 Ways to Get That Sermon Started
Practical Tips on How To Do Sermon Prep
Preaching for Life Change
Fighting the “Last Minute” Fatigue
The 3 Parts of an Altar Call


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