Many contemporary sermons are lacking in organization. Give your sermons the Connective Test. Listen to the tape of a recent discourse and check the number of times you have used the following:

1. And … aa-a-a-a-

2. And, as We were saying …

3. That, by the way, recalls an experience I had in …

4. Or, as the Irishman said when …

5. If I may return for a moment to the text …

To score, divide the number of occurences by the phrase number and multiply by the number of points, if any, in your sermon. If you have five or more instances of a phrase above, read the corresponding sentence below:

1. You have a strong feeling for structure. Your hesitation shows a commendable desire to choose words having some relation to what has been said.

2. Splendid organizational unity. You remember what you have said, and repeatedly echo it. Symphonic mastery of a motif.

(The We is the plural of a doctor of divinity.)

3. Deep thematic awareness. Each successive parenthesis (properly introduced ((note the shared experience (((should be revelant ((((but not necessarily to the first theme)))))))))) leads to an existential denouement.

4. This brilliant extemporized connection introduces the Jocular Parallel, known to Hebraists as the Wow Consecutive.

5. A dangerous redundancy. Returning to the text will not only interrupt the chain of association in your remarks, it may also raise extraneous questions in the minds of any wakeful hearers: what was the text? what does it mean? why did he leave it? You can readily imagine the embarrassment this might become to your liberties in the pulpit!

If your low score reveals weak structure, use this outline for two months:

Theme: A Cheering Thought

1. Illustrations of Cheering Thoughts

(Cheering Thoughts ...

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