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50 Preaching Tips from H.B. Charles Jr.

A fellow Elder at my church sent me a link to a short video where H.B. Charles Jr. gives 50 preaching tips in 15 minutes. The goal of the video is to encourage more faithful, clear, and better sermons. Charles’ list covers the preacher’s devotional life, sermon preparation, and homiletical delivery. Overall, it’s a good list and worth your attention.


If you don’t have fifteen minutes to watch the video, here is Charles’ list:


  1. Plan your preaching.

  2. Start preparing as early as possible.

  3. Prepare when you are at your best.

  4. Gather tools for sermon preparation.

  5. Consult the best commentaries.

  6. Read and reread the text.

  7. Observe before you interpret.

  8. Learn to learn quicker.

  9. Give time for the message to marinate.

  10. Keep a good record of your study notes.

  11. Preach the truth and tone of the text.

  12. Write complete sermon manuscripts.

  13. Write for the ear, not the eye.

  14. Strive for clarity.

  15. practice variety.

  16. Don’t assume anything.

  17. Get good rest before you preach.

  18. Saturate your sermon in prayer.

  19. Make sure your title does not overpromise.

  20. Preach the sermon, don’t read it.

  21. Be intentional about sermon length.

  22. Show it to them in the text.

  23. Present the gospel in every sermon.

  24. Keep your introduction brief.

  25. Only conclude the sermon once.

  26. Make smooth transitions.

  27. Don’t be the hero of your illustrations.

  28. Be careful of indecent exposure.

  29. Use scripture for illustrations.

  30. Ask probing questions.

  31. Do not plagiarize.

  32. use quotations sparingly.

  33. Make eye contact.

  34. Preach for a verdict.

  35. Be yourself.

  36. Guard your heart in the pulpit.

  37. Get honest feedback.

  38. Preach to an audience of one.

  39. Determine authorial intent.

  40. Prioritize your quiet time.

  41. Develop a sermon proposition. A single sentence that is present tense, summarizing the point of the message.

  42. Think texts, not topics. Think series, not sermons.

  43. Be specific.

  44. Preach apologetically.

  45. Find a homiletical hero.

  46. Read books on preaching.

  47. Preach with sincere passion.

  48. Your sermon points should be necessary and natural.

  49. Put application in your sermon points.

  50. Live what you preach.


Let’s discuss this list:

  • What did you find helpful?

  • What would you add to the list?

  • Are there any points you would push back on a bit?

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This was worth the 15 minutes. He's got some great one-liners that illustrate the point of his statement.

For those who have listened... help me understand tip #38. "Preach to an audience of one." If we are preaching to people out of our satisfaction with Jesus rather than a paid advertiser (as mentioned with tip #47), does he mean our audience of one is a personal message to each listener, or is he meaning that our audience of one is the Lord?

I truly appreciated #49 - Make the sermon points a single sentence & use a verb that is the word of exhortation right into the message. This is a very concrete step that I can tell whether I've…

Replying to

Great thoughts, Jack!

For me, #41 is really important. A good friend / mentor of mine challenged me on this several years ago and it really helped my preaching (at least, I think it did!).

Regarding #38 - I think he means the audience of one being God. Seeking his approval alone. 1 Thess. 2:4 comes to mind.

I also appreciated #49.

Regarding #12 - That's not for everyone. I appreciate men who can manuscript well. I'm not one of them. Charles' #13 tip is why I find it hard to manuscript.

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