Steve May answers frequently asked questions.
Thank you for your interest in Preaching Academy. You’re about to take a great step forward in becoming a more effective communicator — and it’s an exceedingly important step because the bottom line is that Great Preaching Changes Lives.
Are you interested in knowing more about Preaching Academy?
Here’s a pretty detailed Q&A based on the questions and comments and feedback that I have received in the past year or so as I have been discussing Preaching Academy with with clients and prospective customers.
Preaching Academy is an online training resource for pastors and teachers. It features a 30-day Advanced Preaching Course — we call it advanced because we assume you’ve already been at this a while.
The course is built around 8 training sessions and daily follow-ups.
The course itself can be done in 30 days — or at whichever rate you prefer. Your membership lasts a full year.
Preaching Academy also includes hundreds of additional preaching resources: articles, quotes, book excerpts, tips and techniques, plus a couple of quick “refresher” type of mini-courses to help you make sure you’re covering the basics.
The goal of Preaching Academy is to help preachers and teachers and Bible study leaders master every aspect of preparation and delivery, from the initial idea to the final ‘amen.’
The foundation of the Advanced Course is built on eight coaching modules, plus 22 daily follow-ups, making it a 30 day course. There’s a strong emphasis on putting into practice the key principles of great preaching.
Most of the sessions are about 12 minutes in length. Some are a little longer.
These aren’t seminary classes. The sessions are coaching-oriented, not lecture-oriented.
t means that in the course I don’t wax eloquent about the philosophy of preaching or “the church’s theological task in a post-modern culture.” Those are topics for another setting, and another speaker.
The purpose of Preaching Academy is to give pastors the kind of direction that will find its wayquickly into their weekly sermon preparation and delivery.
I took a preaching course a few years ago — it cost a lot more than our course — and the instructor spent an unbelievable amount of time covering detail that most pastors don’t really need. The sessions, which lasted almost an hour, answered questions like “Why do we use illustrations?” and “Why do we need to prepare?” and even, “What is the purpose of the sermon?”
My experience is that pastors already know what a sermon is, and they know why we need them. They also know why a good illustration makes a sermon better — and now they’re looking for the kind of coaching that gives them something that they can put into practice this week as they begin preparing this Sunday’s sermon. That’s what Preaching Academy sets out to do.
Here’s a somewhat simplified way to look at it.
When a football team is in contention to win their division late in the season, and they’ve got a must-win game coming up, the coach doesn’t begin practice by saying, “Ok, before we talk about the details of our game plan, let’s first talk about: Why do we like first downs? Here are some reasons first downs are an important part of the game.”
Obviously, that’s not where he begins. His players don’t need to hear about the philosophy of first downs. They need to hear specific strategies about how they can win the game.
Preaching Academy takes the same type of let’s-stay-focused-on-getting-ready-for-Sunday approach.
When you sign into our members area, you can access the lessons. You can access them on your cell phone, tablet, or computer.
Each lesson also comes with a complete transcript you can read.
A Preaching Academy membership lasts one year. You can access any of our resources at any time during during that period. And, if you want, you can renew at the end of your term, since we’re always adding new content.
You get a printable one-sheet for each session outlining the key points, with some follow-up action points, quick exercises to help you get the hang of something.
You also get access to the additional coaching resources. These are updated a couple of times a week — sometimes a good quote from a great preacher, sometimes an article, sometimes a follow-up on a recent lesson.
Since you’re already preparing sermons week in and week out, not that much additional time is needed.
The lessons are about 12 minutes, give or take. You can work through them at your own pace, whenever you want.
Since preaching is such a significant part of your ministry, I encourage pastors to spend 10-15 minutes every day doing something related to improving your preaching skills. Pastors with such a commitment find more than enough content at Preaching Academy to keep them busy.
The biggest challenge is for pastors to learn to focus on preaching a message, rather than merely outlining a passage. It’s relatively easy to outline a text, but you often end up with several sermons hidden in that outline — or, worse, no sermon at all, just an amalgam of loosely connected ideas.
The key, then, is to find a message for today within that passage of scripture — a message that your listeners can apply to their lives.
One key to preaching a focused message comes down to being able to summarize the sermon in a single statement — I call it the Ten-Second Take-Away. This summary-statement serves as an anchor to the sermon, helping people remember your message throughout the week. The more they remember it, the more likely they are to live it.
Not only do I listen to a lot of sermons and talk to a lot of pastors, I also talk to as many people in the pew as possible. When I ask about the preaching they hear week after week, or for an evaluation of a recent sermon they’ve heard, the most common response I get is a polite: “The pastor said some good things, but I’m not really sure what the sermon was about.”
Preaching Academy solves this problem.
Today’s pastor tends to swing to two extremes.
Sometimes we try to say too much in a sermon: we preach 3 points that move in 3 different directions and should be 3 different sermons.
Other times we take an idea for a good sermon and try to make a series out of it, and by week three we’re just repeating ourselves.
One thing Preaching Academy does well: We help you identify the message you want to preach, and we help you deliver it with greater impact.
Here are the three bonuses you get when you enroll in Preaching Academy.
First, you get access to a ton of supplemental resources.
Second, you get access to a complete preaching resource library containing more than 750 sermons and 5000 illustrations. These resources will give you a huge head start as you develop your messages in the future.
Third, once you have completed the 30 day coursework, you qualify for a free sermon evaluation / coaching session with me.
Because it will help you communicate better. And not just a little better. You’ll communicate a lot better. Top-tier. Every aspect of your preparation and delivery will get tweaked during this course, and some aspects will get turned upside down and inside out.
Within just a few weeks people will see a difference in your preaching and teaching.
Within a few months you’ll see a difference in the life of your congregation; your sermons will be catching on it a greater way than ever before.
Blah blah blah