Steven posted a link to this great list of common mistakes that preachers make.
I'll start with a confession - I have perpetrated almost ALL of these at some time or another, and, as a teacher at our denominations seminary, I tried my best to help our students to avoid them.
Now, I am a simply an 'ordinary' member of a congregation - (well I tend to visit many different congregations the world over in the course of my travels). Sadly some of these mistakes are quite common regardless of the continent and context.... Perhaps we could all learn a few lessons from this list?
Here goes: (the list comes from Dr Michael Jensen's blog)
My assumption in this list is a culture that values the preaching of scripture very highly. This of course should not be assumed at all! There are actually worse crimes than these that include doing violence to the text of scripture, or ignoring it altogether, or waffling and calling it 'spirit-led'.Check out the comments on the original post... There are many other points added by the commentators.
1. Merely 'explaining/teaching the Bible' and not preaching the living Word of God. (I think we should ban the phrase 'we are now going to hear the Bible explained'. I don't need it explained. I need it preached.)
2. Introducing us to the text and not to the issue addressed by the text.
3. Providing overelaborate explanations of the biblical-theological background to no great end.
4. Moralising from the Old Testament.
5. Reading every OT text immediately in terms of Christology without regard to its own particular context and meaning and purpose.
6. Speaking down to the congregation; assuming we are simpletons and do not read or think for ourselves. That our questions just need better information in order to answer them.
7. Getting Penal Substitution (or whatever the hot-button issue is for your church!) from every single text.
8. Illustrations that confuse more than illuminate. That's...most of 'em.
9. Never referring to self and own Christian faith in sermon. (Of course, the opposite is worse: using the pulpit for autobiographical purposes. Yuck.)
10. Making ill-informed generalisations about culture/sociology from a knee-jerk conservative standpoint.
11. (sorry) Pop-psychologising.