What I Learned from the Preach Better Sermons Conference

Yesterday The Rocket Company hosted a free online event, the Preach Better Sermons Conference. Over 15,000 people attended this online event and #preachingrocket was even trending on Twitter in the US yesterday. It looks like they’re planning to re-broadcast the material on May 16th as well (sign up here).

Preach Better Sermons Conference

General Comments

  • The conference was all interviews with some excellent preachers and communicators. I liked this format, as you often get more insight through the interview format.
  • Each of the presenters said things worth remembering.
  • There were many common threads and some divergent viewpoints.
  • I appreciated a common emphasis on how desperately preachers need God’s power for any real supernatural work to happen.

Specific Lessons from Each Presenter

Steven Furtick

  • The more I shift my attention from being impressive to being a blessing, the more God can use me and the less nervous I am.

Louie Giglio

  • Freedom comes when you know who you are as a preacher.
  • We are on stage, under the lights, with a crowd, being recorded. It’s a recipe for disaster unless you’re walking with Jesus.

Donald Miller

  • You discipline yourself to study, write and teach because sometimes inspiration actually happens and you better be there in case it does.

Brad Lomenick

  • Great leaders move people from here to there and that often takes inspiration.

Dave Ramsey

  • Humor is essential because it disarms people, especially when it’s a tough or challenging subject.
  • If you rush your prep it will sound like it.

Mark Batterson

  • In real estate, it’s location, location, location. In communication, it’s metaphor, metaphor, metaphor. People can latch on to these controlling metaphors. They create cognitive categories in our minds.
  • Would you rather be a great preacher or a great pray-er?

Darrin Patrick

  • Would your sermon still work if Jesus hadn’t risen from death? If so, that’s a problem.

Jon Acuff

  • If you go first in sharing your struggles, you give everyone else the gift of going second.

Crawford Loritts

  • We make the mistake in thinking that our proficiency means we’re doing something with God’s power.
  • Leader development is more important than leadership development.
  • I’m not up there to impress people, I’m there to introduce them to the One who left the tomb empty.

Pete Wilson

  • When our church reads, they grow. So it’s good to connect series with books.

Nancy Duarte

  • We need to like our audience — take time to obsess about what life is like in their shoes.
  • Most of the Best Picture nominations are also nominated for Best Editing. Same goes with communication.

Andy Stanley

  • What makes preaching to Christians and non-Christians engaging has to do with approach.

Ed Stetzer

  • Be as faithful with the stats you present as the text you present. Most stats are bad but preachers keep using them.

Mark Driscoll

  • If I go to a steakhouse, I’m looking for steak. If I go to a swimming pool, I’m looking for water. If I go to a church, I’m looking for Bible.
  • Does your preaching connect to a guy who drove to church in a truck?
  • There’s no place in society but the church for fatherless men to learn about how to be a man.
  • Do you see yourself as a shepherd of a flock or a speaker to an audience?

Published by Luke Simmons

I was born and raised in Denver, CO and lived there through high school. Then I moved to Champaign, IL where I attended the University of Illinois and played on the Fighting Illini baseball team. I was married in December, 2001 to Molly, who I met at the U of I. In June of 2002, we moved to Phoenix and have been here ever since.

Join the Conversation


  1. Impressive list of both speakers and learnings! It’s nice to be shepherded and taught by a learner!

    1. Yes, those were good. I loved his emphasis on preaching the text. Too easy to overlook.

  2. I SO wish I could listen to this … but I don’t think I can set aside the four hours.

    Would love to hear Loritts unpack this:

    “Leader development is more important than leadership development.”

    1. Loritts fleshes it out quite a bit in his book, Leadership as an Identity. It’s a good book and worth the read.

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