So, everyone thinks David Letterman invented Top Ten Lists,


but we all know God did.  At least Letterman stole from a good source.  At various times in my life I’ve made “Top Ten Lists” for leadership in our church or for membership or for staff or etc… and I always try to have fun with it.  This morning in in my inbox was an article from that promised the “10 Commandments of Preaching” written by Tyler Scarlett.  I don’t know who Tyler Scarlett is, but that is a GREAT NAME!  Sounds like an assassin in a spy movie, or perhaps a gun for hire in the old west.  But I digress.



Scarlett’s list is good.  Here are his 10 Commandments:

  1. Thou shalt not put words in God’s mouth.
  2. Thou shalt prepare and preach every message as it were thy last.
  3. Thou shalt not present the  Word of God in a boring and non-compelling manner.
  4. Thou shalt always point to Christ in thy message.
  5. Thou shalt edify thy hearers to faith and obedience.
  6. Thou shalt not be one kind of person and another kind of preacher.
  7. Thou shall not open a commentary until thou hast read the passage 100 times.
  8. Honor thy context above all else, so that it may go well with thee in thy messages.
  9. Thou shalt make the point of the text the point of the message
  10. Thou shalt preach and teach doctrine above all else.

Like  I said, I think his commandments are pretty good.  A bit dry and too serious, though, for me, especially with all that King James language.  But my Top 10 is better and more practical and it comes to you in more of a New Living Translation feel.

  1. Gargle with mouth wash immediately before you preach.
  2. Make sure you know how the sermon is going to end.
  3. Check your fly before you go to the platform, not after you get there.
  4. Try and talk to people in the crowd one-on-one before you preach.
  5. Remember, you care more about the details than they do so get to the point.
  6. Leave your notes in your study–Preach from the heart.
  7. Laugh at yourself and make some laughter in the sermon.
  8. People had a choice to come hear you, honor that choice.
  9. For the love of all that is good and decent do a sound check ahead of time.
  10. Write your own sermons.

I bet if I sat here all day I could come up with about 40 others.  Hey, someday that might make a great book on preaching because there clearly are not enough books on preaching (sarcasm alert!)


  1. Personally, I’d like number 10 way up top….maybe number one. Bad preachers who don’t write their own sermons give GOD a bad name….you, however, do and AWESOME job………….


  2. But if “everyone thinks David Letterman invented Top Ten Lists,” how can “we all know God did?” Aren’t “we all” part of “everyone”? I’m so confused! I need some chocolate.


  3. You might wish to correct the tablets’ image. It’s backwards! This is not likely obvious to many readers, since “The Ten Commandments” made the historically more correct decision to use Paleo-Hebrew script, but for those who do, the writing is total nonsense!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s