A. V. Henderson is now 92 years old an has been preaching for 72 years!
He has been a pastor at multiple large churches running up to nearly 11,000 weekly (in the ’70’s!), President of 2 Bible colleges including one he started as well as the Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO.
And he is an amazing preacher and thinker even at 92.
This past week I had the chance to talk with him in his house and at the missions conference we were in in TX.
Here are some things he told me.
Lessons on preaching:
- Get to the point.
- Move the audience along to the top of the “mountain” and quit!
- Learn brevity and don’t waste time at the beginning of your sermon. Get up ready to preach, grab their attention and keep it till you are done. (He is famous for his sermons being from 18-22 min long.)
- Don’t just have additional points in your sermon, have each one build on the last.
- You don’t need to repeat yourself. People are smart and they get it. Just move on.
- Always be practicing at preaching.
- Books on preaching aren’t inspired, but read them all.
- Pay attention to what works and people understand and enjoy.
- Watch people. You can tell when you lose them.
- Study all week so the message becomes a part of you.
- Have a place to catch all your thoughts on your sermons as you think on them.
- Preach expository sermons!
Starting a church
- Start simple.
- Don’t try to do it all.
- Give them something worth coming for.
- Teach “why” a lot.
- Starting with 1 service a week teaches people that that’s all you really need.
- Quality produces quality.
- If you want a mature, strong church, don’t treat them like babies, teach them to be mature.
- Be available.
Lessons on the difference between a big church and small church:
- Small church is relational like a family so everyone feels like they should get a say.
- Pastor your leaders and allow them to pastor the others.
- Good systems and organization allow a church to grow from small to large.
- Organization makes a large church more efficient at ministry because you can require more quality and followthrough.
- Have standards about quality etc.
- Be extremely efficient.