Encourage your congregation to participate in worship with you. Instead of viewing the people in your church as spectators and just delivering sermons to them, invite them to worship with you as active participants in each worship service. Try to engage all of their five main physical senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting) through various activities designed to help them encounter God. Encourage them to respond to God’s grace by confessing and repenting of their sins and committing to live for God’s glory.

Develop the kind of community God wants you to help build. Help lead the people in your church to form a healthy community in which people can grow closer to God. Use your worshipful preaching to help teach them about resolving conflicts, peacemaking, forgiveness, reconciliation, unity, and service to others in need to fulfill their God-given missions. Work to develop a healthy community both inwardly and outwardly, backward and forward, personally and corporately, verbally and nonverbally, and explicitly and implicitly.

Preach to help people go through the four stages of worship formation. Preach evangelistic, doctrinal, or celebrative sermons to help your congregation join the body of Christ and begin to participate within it. Preach liturgical sermons or sermons that focus on the history of salvation to help people integrate into your congregation by developing closer relationships with each other and expressing their worship to God in deeper ways. Preach sermons that focus on pastoral leadership to help those in your congregation build stronger character and grow to become more like Jesus. Preach missional or prophetic sermons to help people discover and pursue their missions in God’s kingdom. Constantly ask yourself if you’re building community by story and enabling your community to scatter to accomplish God’s purposes.

Collaborate with your church’s worship leader to incorporate your preaching into worship services well. Rather than planning your sermons by yourself, meet each week with your church’s worship leader to plan the upcoming service together, and follow these stages: First, agree on the fundamental elements of the worship service. Second, work together to choose the Scripture for the service, prayerfully read the text aloud, investigate and interpret it, identify its focus and function, and state its main impact. Third, design the sermon, being sure to keep in mind both its original context and its relevance to contemporary situations. Fourth, shape the content and structure of the entire worship service, planning to proclaim the Scripture text through worship elements such as singing, praying, giving, and Communion. The next step is to actually lead the worship service and deliver the sermon. Finally, evaluate the outcomes and figure out what you can change to improve future worship services.

Adapted from Preaching as Worship: An Integrative Approach to Formation in Your Church, copyright 2011 by Michael J. Quicke. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com.

Michael J. Quicke is C.W. Koller Professor of Preaching and Communication at Northern Seminary in the Chicago area and preaches and lectures across the world. He is the author of 360-Degree Preaching and 360-Degree Leadership and lives in Illinois.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles, at: http://angels.about.com/. Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer. 

Publication date: August 8, 2012