Should You Copy Someone Else’s Sermon?

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Years ago, I worked as a marketing director for a theme park in Atlanta. Part of my job involved booking concerts for special events. The biggest “name” I ever booked was KC and the Sunshine Band. If you don’t remember these guys, you’re much younger than me. Whenever I couldn’t find an affordable original band, we would look for cover bands. These are bands that play songs written and recorded by other artists. There’s nothing wrong with cover bands but there’s a longing inside each of them to “write and play their own music.”

In today’s world of easily accessible sermons, there’s a similar concept. I call it the cover preacher. These are communicators who preach sermons originally given by someone else. Is there anything wrong with this? Not really, especially when the credit is given to the original source. But the long-term effect of this is numbing for both the preacher and the congregation.

But, the best sermons are ones given by someone who has internalized a truth, is living it out, and it pours out of them in a passionate, original way. This can’t happen when we cover someone else’s sermon.

In a recent interview with Carl Lentz for Preach Better Sermons 2014, Carl said that pastors should..

Glean from everyone, but copy no one. 

I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t learn, use stories or leverage other ideas. I am suggesting you do not have to live your life as a cover preacher.

God has given you a unique voice, personal experiences that only you have, and a specific calling. This is why, in Preaching Rocket we challenge, teach and encourage you to develop your own original ‘music’.

You might be encouraged to know that there once was a cover band whose first three albums were songs previously recorded by other artists. Finally, the band mustered up enough courage to release their own album.

The year was 1965, and the band was the Rolling Stones.