Fishing Sermons: 5 Baits to Ensure a Bite

One of the First Aims of Preaching from Rev. Adam Hamilton’s chapter on “Preaching” is called Evangelistic Sermons.


I’m sure you will agree that there are two times when the unchurched find themselves sitting in our pews: Christmas and Easter.  Hamilton let’s us know that these are the times we  need to go fishing!

Evangelistic Sermons

As we prepare for our highest recruitment days (Christmas and Easter) or “Fishing Expedition” opportunities as Hamilton states, it’s important to be very intentional.  He shares some strategies that have contributed to his success.

5 Tips to Prepare Sermons a Year in Advance

5 Tips on Preparing Sermons a Year in Advance. Adam Hamilton, pastor of the largest United Methodist Church in the US, The Church of the Resurrection shares some techniques that have contributed to his success.

I’ve read several great books related to the church, one such book that I believe every new preacher needs to have in their library is by Adam Hamilton, “Leading Beyond the Walls.”

Several pastors with large churches have written books stating that they prepare their sermons in as much as two years in advance. I use to wonder how in the world they could do that. It takes me an entire week to get a single sermon ready for a Sunday morning.

Adam Hamilton describes in his book how this is accomplished. I would like to review in this blog:

  • The purpose and goal of preaching a sermon
  • Model How Jesus Preached
  • Sermons Prepared a Year in Advance
  • List a brief summary of Adam Hamilton’s, ‘The Five Aims of Preaching’

I know that you may not have time to read his book and I hope that this blog serves to highlight helpful tips to spark your creativity in preparing  your sermons. In a future blog I will expand on the chapter dealing with Adam Hamiliton’s The Five Aims of Preaching.

Copycat – Implement Proven Strategies from Other Churches

Conventional wisdom says to be a ‘copycat’ is bad, especially when it comes to business, ministry or church affairs. “Spend time identifying


copycat your uniqueness” we are told.I don’t know about you, but I wasted a lot of time, energy and money being preoccupied with discovering my uniqueness.

A retired pastor friend of a 1400 member church once told me that every year he and his wife go on a vacation. He allows his wife the privilege of choosing the vacation site. Once she has made the final selection, he would seek out the ‘largest’ Christian church in that area to attend worship. Before you consider him to be so holy, I asked him why he did this. He told me that he was there to ‘OBSERVE.’

“There is a reason why that church is large and is attracting so many people,” he replied.I asked him what he observes. He told me ANY and EVERY thing.

Debt Software Secrets Revealed

In my last post I spoke about the Snowball Strategy to Debt Elimination. If you make a snowball and roll it down a mountain for every roll, that snowball will pick up more snow and get larger and larger. The basic idea is to achieve your goals of debt payoff by taking the path of greatest momentum.

snowball debt2


In my previous post, “Secrets to Debt Elimination,” I also included a video of a young man who walks us through and explains the basics of how this snowball debt elimination formula works. I told you however, and gave you some sites where you can get software to do this for you automatically.

What can you expect to get from the software?

debtfree1You will get a printed plan that you can follow monthly. It will guide you along the way.  Believe it or not, gathering all the bills is usually the most time consuming part of the whole debt elimination process because usually bills are everywhere instead of in one spot.

  1. Get ALL your bills together in ONE place.
  2. Enter the name of each bill (List only bills that can be paid off. Not utilities, phones, rent, etc.)
  3. Enter the balance due on each bill
  4. Enter the interest rate on each bill
  5. *Enter the monthly payments you have decided to pay each month
  6. Enter the MINIMUM monthly payment dictated by your credit card company or loan company

*Why do I need to record what I currently pay on each bill?

Because most people say they have no extra monies to put towards paying off their debt when they actually do. Extra money is found when people pay above their minimums. The idea is to redirect these extra dollars once the software calculates and prioritizes which bill will be paid first. The extra funds will be added to your new priority bill.

What does the software do?

The software will prioritize, calculate and display your own personalized complete debt-elimination plan—year by year, month by month, and payment by payment. It will let you know the month and year you will be completely out of debt!

The software will prioritize payments and will let you know which payment to make to which creditor, and how much that payment should be each month. As each debt is paid off, it’s dropped from the payment schedule and that amount you use to pay is added to the next prioritized bill until all bills are paid off.

Secrets to Eliminating Debt

I would like share with you a timeless secrets to eliminating debt that is mathematical guaranteed to work. Years ago I use to teach on debt management course called, “Debt-Free & Prosperous Living”  by John M. Cummuta. I have used this system myself.  There is nothing like the freedom that comes with knowing that you work because you want to and not because you have to.  I must be honest, I am using the program again because of some circumstances I elected to be in.  However, just like before I have my eyes on my debt freedom date.

Thankless Job!

To be frank,  teaching people to get out of debt was really a thankless job and that is why I don’t do it now. However, please note the principles are priceless – valued treasures! What frustrated me was the that the average person wanted the easy way out. The way of NO sacrifice on their part at all. It was as if they wanted me to look in my crystal ball and give them that evening’s lotto numbers so they could hit it big.

The Bearer of Bad News!

Instead I offered advice such as: cut down on the cable features, the number of times they ate out, entertain cheaper cell phone packages, consider packing lunches, reduce the number of salon visits, etc.  One of my clients actually said to me, “What else you got?”

Behind Close Doors

The debt elimination program that I taught was for everyone who had debt – that would probably be 99% of us.    Some people put their noses up and said,  “It’s for those people over there. I don’t need the program because I am paying my bills.” The truth is they didn’t want anyone peeking into their underwear drawer.  Many people put up good fronts, but behind closed doors their finances were a mess.