“I speak as a fool” (2 Corinthians 11:23).
Now, the solid born-again, God-called messenger of the Lord has no wish to sound particularly smart. True, he does not want to come across as ignorant, but he is not insecure, has nothing to prove, and is not there to impress. He is a messenger, delivering the word of God, then getting out of the way.*
However, a less than solid preacher just might want to impress his hearers. An insecure, insincere preacher–one working for the paycheck and seeking the prestige some people bestow on a pastor–might want to bolster his image by dressing up his presentation in some way, and could use some assistance. That’s where we come in. We can help.
Herewith then is our list of tricks which a poor preacher might want to employ.
Tongue in cheek, of course.
One. Insert the occasional Hebrew or Greek word into your sermon. This is not hard to do, now that we have the internet. If you really want to sound smart, after saying, “Now, in the original, the Greek word is” whatever, then you will want to say something like “in the pluperfect aorist tense, of course.” No one will know you have no clue what you’ve just said, but it doesn’t matter. It sounds good, and that’s the point.
Two. At least once in every sermon, say “As my seminary professor used to say…” You’ll find great quotes on the internet to attribute to the anonymous teacher.
Three. Google Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, and find something good he said. (He said a lot of quotable stuff, so this won’t be hard.) In quoting him, be sure to pronounce his name correctly, otherwise the one person in the congregation who knows who he was will badmouth you and your efforts will be for nothing.
This also works for the German preachers Helmut Thelicke and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Unfortunately, it does not work for Joel Osteen or John Hagee.