Is It Ever OK To Use Sermon Material From Someone Else?

Jan 24, 2007

Yes…here are five reasons why…

#1 - You Are NOT That Good!  

I know that for me personally…I do not have 52 new things to say to the people who walk into the doors of NewSpring Church every week.  Combine that with the fact that there are a lot of really awesome teachers out there who are saying some things that need to be heard…and there you have it.  I have learned that there are MUCH better people than me when it comes to preaching and teaching…and I would be an arrogant fool if I thought that I could not use a phrase or an idea from them just because it was not “my very own!”
#2 - People Have Been Doing It For Years!

I do find it funny that the pastor who would criticize someone for listening to another person’s message and then making a point from it OR using a phrase that the other pastor used has no problem reading tons of commentaries and then using THAT information!

#3 - Jesus Did It!

In reading the Gospels I have discovered that Jesus quoted the OT…isn’t that using someone else’s stuff.  OK, OK, it was HIS stuff to begin with…I just couldn’t resist.  On a serious note—the Apostle Paul DID quote the OT quite a bit…and then the book of Hebrews…dang, I mean…talk about using someone else’s stuff…that guy used a lot of the OT!

#4 - It Is A Great Way To Relieve The Creative Cramp  

I believe that preparing a message week in and week out can be one of THE most frustrating things a pastor can face.  I have found myself on the verge of a nervous breakdown because “the message just won’t come.”  BUT…I have found that listening to other speakers is an AWESOME way to generate new ideas.

#5 - It Really Does Add To The Message

As a speaker I tend to see things from one particular point of view…MINE.  Listening to and borrowing ideas from other speakers allows your audience to experience things from a different perspective.

Disclaimer:  I know this is coming…so I will answer the question now…no, I do not preach other people’s messages.

I do take thoughts, ideas…even phrases from them.  AND…I have used outlines from other speakers…but I just can’t preach another message.  Why?  Simple…I can’t feel the passion about something that did not have some sort of birth in me.

The challenge when using someone else’s material is to make it your own.  Tell personal stories, speak from your heart.  Trust me…your audience will know if you are real are just throwing out someone else’s stuff.

BTW…we do get accused of that here at NewSpring from time to time.  And…as I said…we do use other people’s ideas…but the overwhelming majority of the stuff we do comes from two things…

#1 - My personal time with God!  

#2 - Our creative process (brainstorming with other people about concepts and ideas!)

Want to know more about the creative process?  Make sure to come to our conference!  :-)