Welcome to the Views of Grace, a blog about our fellowship and ministry of Graceview Church! Our focus is reaching out and ministering to people wherever they are in their spiritual walk of life and help them to progress through their journey. Many preparations happen behind the scenes and we would also like to give readers a unique insight into the various people and ministries that make everything come together for the glory of Christ.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Pastor Jeff Bartlett this past week and dive into his sermon preparation. There are many styles and practices of preaching that God uses to further His kingdom, so here are some highlights of Pastor Jeff’s take.
Sunday Mornings are Expositional Preaching –
Expositional preaching is a focus on a particular text of scripture by looking into the context, historical setting, and the grammatical use of the passage. It is important to know the scriptures that surround the selected text, who it was written to/the relevant customs of the time, and of course-the actual meaning and use of any original words that might be diluted in translation. The base summary of expositional preaching is the systematic study and interpretation of a passage.
The 1/3, 2/3 Sermon Structure –
If you hear a sermon from Pastor Jeff, it is quickly evident that you are being presented a prepared and organized thought process. There is a lot of prayer and study that goes into his preparations, and Jeff estimates that two-thirds of his own thoughts go into the groundwork while a third of it is sourced from referenced material. The same application is a good way to measure out his sermons: around a third of the sermon is dedicated to preaching, and he gives two-thirds of it to teaching. Preaching is for a verdict, a conclusion, while teaching is the interpretation of the study; both are important and some pastors may weigh heavily on one aspect or the other depending on their individual gifts. There is conviction in proclaiming truth that must be applied, but the preaching must be based on accurate teaching.
There Will Most Likely be Quotes –
Proverbs 11:14 tells us Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety (ESV). There may be nothing new to God, but He has gifted certain men with the ability to summarize, illustrate, or otherwise convey a truth so that a broad audience can capture and apply it. Pastor Jeff strongly believes in first studying and comparing scripture for himself and meditating on the leading of the Holy Spirit; then he will look to other wise counsel to strengthen his stance. There is a certain validation when others with the same spiritual goal affirm an interpretation. It should always be kept in mind that acknowledging such truths and sources is not necessarily an endorsement of all of the referenced author’s works or their doctrine as a whole.
He Has a Goal –
“Yeah, so what?” – this is how Pastor Jeff silently closes his sermon preparation. Did he accomplish his goal to let people know what the passage says and how they can really apply it to their lives? Will this change their relationship with God? If he did, then he would want to see people that are inspired more to live for Jesus and to know better how to actually do it.