I listen to many sermons and preachers. In much the same way as a sportsman might watch videos of someone kicking a ball, I like to listen to others who speak publicly. I listen and watch anyone who speaks to others in group settings, on television, in churches.
I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes it is about the speaker, rather than the spoken to. In other words the preacher has thought to themself, I’ve crafted a great message here. Well parsed, context nailed, appropriate use of humour.
The issue is though that sermons are not about the preacher. They are quite simply about transformation. Information is merely a tool so that transformation might take place. Style and medium are there to aid the receiving of the message, not be an end in themselves.
If people do not hear and then be compelled to change, and are actually transformed through the power of God, then it is not a great sermon. It may be interesting, stimulating, funny. But the word I am looking for as I prayerfully prepare a sermon is….compelling.