Don't Be Afraid to Repeat Yourself

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Bert Perry's picture

One thing to add is that in older texts, you can tell what's important by what's repeated.  They knew from experience that what the bard repeated around the fire, or in the gathering hall, was what people would remember.  I was just called upon to spend 30-40 minutes on two words from Isaiah 9:6--Prince of Peace--and to my surprise, when I dug through a few of the references and brought in a bit more of the context of the whole verse, there I was.  I centered it around the nature of God and how the usage of "sar" reflected Christ's position in the Trinity. 

Especially harmful is the practice of using the central text or concept as a springboard to talk about other things the teacher wants to talk about.  Again, there are really only so many things that the hearers can contemplate, so the "KISS" (keep it short and simple) principle applies here, strongly.  You bring in side issues at the risk of losing the main one.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture


I tend to repeat myself a LOT in my sermons. Unfortunately, this habit bleeds over to my job in the regular world. I occasionally get eye rolls and exasperated remarks from other managers when I repeat myself and belabor a point during meetings. It's an unconscious thing. I think it comes from my habit of repeating points several times in a row during sermons.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?