To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

One way to view preaching is through likening it of a steeplechase. A steeplechase is, of course, a horse-race where there are significant fences to get over.

The part between the fences is the actual putting forward of your points. Make sure when you are between the fences that you do not go off-course; stick to the point that you are making. Do not wander off past the railings to the side of the track. Marshall your material to develop that point, but don’t go away from the course you have set. So from your text you decide on what points are to be made and between each fence you make the point in accordance with the text.

The fences are the junctures in the message where you move on from one point to another; they are transition points. When you come to each fence it is good to review where we have got to. Allow the congregation to get their bearings. Even use the fences as points to allow the people to get a breather. Many sermons lose their usefulness because the congregation do not know where the preacher is up to. In such a situation the people can feel lost and be soon giving up on paying attention to the message. It is important to guide them and establish for them where you (and where they) are.

At the starting line you should have told the congregation what fences are ahead and the number of them. You do not need to always be specific on this, but it is good to give a guide.

At the end  you head, I hope, for the winners enclosure having successfully got you your message (your horse) and your congregation successfully round the course! But, in a sense your work is not over. In your conclusion indicate where you have come from. Also,  indicate what is ahead. By what is “ahead” you are setting the people to go out and live in the light of the message they have heard. You will be continually doing this as you go through your message, but at the end you particularly emphasize this.

And having written that I pray to the Lord: Oh Lord help me to be a preacher who is more effective in helping the people understand your Word and respond to it.

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