There is an ongoing debate about whether or not you can “repreach” someone else’s sermon. Some arguments against repreaching are dogmatic and assert that you should never do this. On the other hand, some get weekly emails of a sermon already prepared. Where is the balance?
Here’s a good test: if you are borrowing from someone’s sermon because you don’t want to prepare your own, then it’s a problem.
But if you’re using someone’s sermon because it was written and spoken beautifully, preached by a legend like Charles Spurgeon or anyone else, and you know your hearers would benefit from this particular message, then go for it.
We must keep in mind that there is nothing “special” about sermon preparation. It is, after all, just preparation. Preparation for what? Preparation to deliver a message that communicates God’s truth to people causing changes in the lives of those who hear it.
Preparation is a means to an end.
Unfortunately, some worship the process.
Our goal is communicating with people to inspire change.
That said, let’s talk about proper etiquette and rules for preaching someone else’s sermon.
- Give credit where credit is due. Tell your congregation that you are doing this. Do not steal someone’s sermon and try to pass it off as your own.
Tell your audience from the start whose sermon it is. Let them know that you were greatly impacted by it and felt that they would benefit from it, as well. People are usually ok with an occasional “sermon borrow.”
- Check your motives. Borrowing someone’s sermon can’t be a cop-out because you were lazy or too busy to prepare that week. Sermon preparation must be a priority in the life of a pastor and preacher.
- Make it count. If you are going to preach someone else’s sermon make sure it’s a really good sermon. Not every sermon is worth repreaching.
You will almost never be able to preach the sermon like the original preacher. So if that person preached a decent sermon you will probably preach it with less finesse. If they preached a phenomenal sermon you may be able to preach it really well, following their lead.
The bottom line is, a replica is never as good as the original. Carefully consider the way you plan to preach and make it count.
I’ve only preached someone else’s sermon about twice in the last eight years. In my opinion, repreaching should be done sparingly.
There will come a point when people will look up to you as an authority. They will want to hear your discoveries, and what God has been showing and revealing to you through your study and prayer time – not through the words of some other preachers that they may or may not know.
Here’s my advice: let’s not be legalistic about saying “no” to preaching other people’s sermons but at the same time, make sure you work diligently in your study time to come up with your own original sermons.
What are your thoughts on preaching someone else’s sermon? If you have done this in the past, how did preaching someone’s sermon turn out? Leave a comment below.