How I Preach: Dr. Richard Hogue

Richard Hogue

Dr. Richard Hogue is the Senior Pastor at Citychurch, Oklahoma City, OK. Grad of Oklahoma University BLS; Harvard Divinity, MTS; and Oral Roberts University, DMin. Wife, Marilyn Hogue, two sons and seven grandchildren. Latest book: Tongues: A Theological History of Christian Glossalalia, 2010

  1. Current gigs (preaching, teaching, etc.) and years at it:

Citychurch, OKC, 24 years

  1. Most used English Bible version:

NASV

  1. Use of Greek and Hebrew (light/moderate/heavy):

Moderately, but mainly in writing.

  1. Current computer(s)/device(s):

Everything I can get my hands on.

  1. Who or what made you want to preach:

A genuine call of God at age 19.

  1. One word that best describes how you prepare to preach:

Seriously

  1. One word that best describes how you preach:

Passionately

  1. Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Mild extrovert

  1. Who are you most indebted to for making you the preacher you are (besides God)?

Dr. John Bisagno

  1. What does your workspace look like when you are prepping?

Cluttered

  1. What time of the day are you most effective?

Anytime. I have a great study.

  1. What’s your sleep routine like?

Midnight to Eight.

  1. What’s your best time-saving trick?

Never stop studying.

  1. What do you listen to while you work?

Nothing

  1. Illustrations—where do you go for them and how do you store them?

Mainly, life experience.

  1. Tell us your sermon-prep routine?

One of the greatest joys of my life is preaching, and of course, with that must come a commitment to preparation. As one can imagine, my preparation has changed a great deal over the past 45 years of ministry. When I first began as a young pastor, I honestly thought I would run out of sermons quickly; now I pray I can live long enough to deal with all the various issues and passages that I am carrying in my spirit. Here is how I prepare.

Since I preach at least each week before many of the same people, I am forced to constantly produce new material. As a result, I never stop preparing sermons. I spend a great deal of time seeking the mind of the Lord Jesus about what I am to preach… praying, reading and thinking. I constantly ask the Lord Jesus what He is saying to His people. After all, it is His church. I learned long ago not to base a sermon on the needs of the people, because the needs of the people are always the same. The critical question is not what is happen at this particular moment in the lives of our folks, but what is God saying to these folks about what is happening.

Once I am confident I know what the Lord is saying, I then seek to find how or where the subject is dealt with in the Scripture. I never cease to be amazed how there is some direct word, or a biblical example, or some teaching that can be used as the basis of the sermon.

One of the methods I have used to keep me focused and the congregation excited is using series. A series of sermons will usually last around twelve weeks, but they have gone much longer. When I first begin to consider a series, I put at least twelve sermon possibilities in a sermon list for that series. Then I attempt to determine the order in which the sermons will be used. The first sermon is always an overview of the series’ topic. It helps me to give our people an overview of where we are going and what they can expect. Once I have determined the basic order of the sermons and commit myself to the series, (which usually occurs a couple of months before the series begins) I determine the books or other resources I will need to challenge me and help me think beyond my own present understanding and knowledge. I have a large personal library which I have collected over the years, but I am also blessed to have a church that allows me to purchase whatever materials I need. Once the materials have been collected, I read and read and read. In fact, and this is no exaggeration, I am constantly reading. I don’t know how anyone truly prepares who does not read.

After I have the subject and the scripture for a given sermon comes the most important time of actually building the sermon. I begin with the theme of the sermon: what is the Lord saying. Then I construct the outline. The outline is critical. I do not outline the passage of Scripture or Scriptures I am using; rather I outline the theme, the message of the sermon found in the passage. I cannot overstate the importance of the outline.

Though I know the sermon order of a series, I prepare each sermon during the week in which I will preach it. My week goes something like this:

  1. By Tuesday night I have the basic sermon theme in my mind and the Scripture I intend to use along with a rough draft in my computer.
  2. Wednesday, I will think about the sermon off and on throughout the day and jot down any serious ideas I may have.
  3. Thursday night, I do not go to bed without a firm commitment to the theme, a renewed understanding the Scripture to be used, and the outline. When the theme and the outline are in place, I begin building the content of the sermon. Although I am relying heavily on the actual Scripture I am using, I always want to know the background, the historic event or events that are found in the passage. This information may just be for me, and it may also be great illustration material.
  1. Friday, I let it set. It is my day with my wife and I do not worry about the sermon. Of course it is in my mind and if an idea comes I will jot it down.
  2. Saturday morning, I finish building the sermon:
  • Determine the exact wording of the theme and the name of the sermon
  • Determine the exact wording of the points (usually alliterated)
  • Determine the exact Scripture to be used with each point
  • Settle on illustrations
  • Write the opening paragraph
  • Build the PowerPoint presentation

Although I do not prepare a manuscript for the sermon, I do write parts of the sermon, especially key parts such as the introduction, the transitional paragraphs which move me from point to point in the sermon, and the closing. When Sunday morning arrives, I only take an outline with me to the pulpit along with the opening paragraph which I give to the congregation and read at the opening of my message.

I do not recommend anyone else follows my pattern of preparation. When I was young and learning to preach I did utilize a manuscript and took much more time to prepare. After decades, I have developed a plan that works for me.

  1. Average numbers of prep hours per sermon:

7-8

  1. Any props used regularly in sermons? Slides? Handouts?

I hand out an outline with blanks to be filled in. I would rather not have the blanks, but…

  1. Use of notes (no/some/extensive)? Only the outline.

Preaching is an oral art, not a written one. Write and read when you are preparing, not when you are preaching.

  1. Who critiques your sermon, besides yourself?

My first, and most trusted critic is my wife, but I have others who constantly speak into my preaching. Gently.

  1. How has your preaching improved over time?

I would say my knowledge and confidence in the Scriptures, my awareness of the working of the Holy Spirit in a given sermon and commitment to the reality of the message of the Kingdom have greatly improved and deepened my preaching.

  1. What are you currently reading?

At this moment: the works of James D.G. Dunn

  1. What do you wish you had learned when you were in seminary?

I graduated from Harvard Divinity and Oral Roberts University. With that combination, I only wish I could have been at each school much longer.

  1. Exercise regimen?

Walk two miles three times a week.

  1. Spiritual disciplines?

Pray, read and have committed relationships in the Lord.

  1. What you do when you aren’t involved in preaching-related activities?

I am granddaddy to seven ranging from 7-17years.

  1. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Make and keep you husband or wife as your best friend.

  1. What advice would you give a young preacher?

Love Jesus, love your wife or husband, stay in school and never stop learning.

  1. What book do you recommend a pastor or preacher to read (Not necessarily preaching related)

God at War, by Gregory Boyd

  1. Where can we find more information about you or listen to your sermons (provide url)

CitychurchOKC.com

  1. How can we connect with you through social media (provide usernames)?

Facebook, email: PastorRichardHogue@gmail.com