5 Questions on Preaching with Brad Whitt
Dr. Brad Whitt is the Pastor of the Abilene Baptist Church in Augusta, GA. Dr. Whitt has a DMin in Expository Preaching from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) and is currently pursuing a PhD in preaching at SEBTS under Dr. Akin.
Q1: How long does it typically take you to prepare a sermon?
A: A typical Sunday morning sermon takes me between 25 and 40 hours. About one hour for every minute of preaching. I keep praying that one day it will get easier and shorter, but in reality it doesn’t. Preparing to preach is hard work. There’s no way around it. And, we’re just talking here about the “message,” it takes time (a lot of time) for the “messenger” to be prepared as well.”
Q2: What do you ultimately want a sermon to accomplish?
A: I desire to present the intent of the text and teach Biblical truth that leads to life transformation. Preaching just to make others think you’re smart or to show off some new or novel idea is really sinful. Preach the Bible and point people to Jesus.
Q3: What are one or two big mistakes people often make in preaching?
A; Too much light or too much heat to the exclusion of the other. Good preaching has both light (truth) and heat (passion.) There’s no excuse for boring preaching because scripture isn’t boring. If the preacher will simply preach the truth of the text with passion the listeners will overlook many other shortcomings.
Q4: How do you handle the gospel invitation and preach toward it?
A: It really depends on the intent of the sermon. Some sermons are meant to instruct and others are meant to move to action. However, at the end of every sermon I do what Spurgeon advised and “make a beeline to the cross.” If you’ve preached the text it will point to Jesus – His work or our need for Him. I share a simple gospel presentation (How I move into that time varies from week to week and is normally born out of or dependent on the emphasis of the sermon) and then either ask them to come talk to a minister/counselor during the invitation or pray a “sinner’s prayer” with me and then come talk to a counselor for instruction in their new life/walk with Jesus. I’m always careful to say that saying a prayer doesn’t save anyone, but if they want to give their life to Christ and this expresses the desire of their heart o “pray something like this…” I make sure to explain our lost condition without Christ and our need for Him. I share about the absolute necessity of repentance of sin and total trust and surrender to Jesus.
Q5: What advice would you give to preachers doing pulpit supply?
A: Keep it in the allotted time. Dr. Rogers used to say that if you preach long you’ll be remembered, if you preach short you’ll be invited back.
Keep it encouraging. You’re there to fill the pulpit, not the place of the pastor. He can better deal with serious issues or hot topics than anybody else.
Keep it simple and biblical. Don’t get cutesy with the text. Share an accurate exposition, give them appropriate illustration and then an application of the text and be done.
As the old preachers used to say, “Stand up. Speak up. Shut up.”