People Are Fact-Checking Your Sermon. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The days of preaching someone else’s sermons on the down-low is gone.

(Not that any of you all would ever do that).

But the level of scrutiny and accountability for your sermon has never been higher.

The internet has changed EVERYTHING.

And if you take a significant part of your sermon from a source other than yourself… the chances are high… very high actually, that someone will find out.  And if you haven’t given proper annotation somewhere in your sermon or proper credit, it will undermine your integrity.

I remember hearing a sermon online that sounded really (really) familiar.  It turned out the sermon I had heard the previous week  was a word-for-word (seriously, word for word) delivery of this very famous pastor’s sermon.

Not cool.

Most people in your church have a fair expectation that what you preach on Sunday morning was actually written by you.  If it’s not, you need to be sure that you give attribution.  Anything less can be seen as a break in your integrity.

According to ChurchTechToday.com, here are some says that you can make sure your sermons are accurate, and cover your butt in the process…

1.  Google and Cite Your Sources

2.  Wikipedia Your Facts

3.  Snopes Your Stories

4.  YouVersion Your Verses

You can click the link above to get more information on each of these great tips.

The piece ends with this quote:

Trust is built on Truth.

So true.  Be credible in your communication.  It’s ok to take from other sources… just be upfront when you do.

In this day of internet sermon fact-checking, you’ll be glad you did!

Thoughts?  I’d love to hear them… leave your comment below…




  • Dan January 19, 2015 Reply

    I have found as a local church pastor, that it is extremely helpful to look at and even use sermon series that are based on another church who has studied and laid things out. It saves so much time and knowing there are teams who put effort into it all that goes with creating a teaching series. It doesn’t mean you don’t study and of course you use your own illustrations etc. We did a series this past Fall where we used LOVEOLOGY which was a sermon series, then became a book that John Mark Comer wrote and used content and lay out of the sermons for our series. We even used the same logo as it was a good one and matched our church vibe. BUT we told people this is based on that, we bought several hundred copies of the book and made them available. I even texted John Mark photos of his series being promoted in our church in the flyers and all. We are doing the same thing again in 3 weeks where we are using Too Busy Not To Pray by Bill Hybels. We are calling the series that same title (in this case however, we are graphically branding it to fit our church). But we are buying copies of the book for people and not keeping it a secret that this series is based on another church who did it. Many of the sermons will be associated directly with chapters in the book and encouraging people to buy the book if they want to read along. We are making a bookmark to even read along week by week of what chapters we will be focusing on in the sermons. So they will see that some of the sermon points or approaches came from the book. So I am all for a church to use other church’s sermons or materials BUT not to ever, ever claim they are yours or use personal illustrations that aren’t yours etc. That whacked if you do that obviously. The important part is the Scriptures themselves no matter if you are using another church’s sermon series as a guide for yours, is that we are thoroughly studying the Scriptures used in it that so it is internalized and prayed about and teaching them firsthand from firsthand study. Not just doing surface Scripture study that the other pastor may have done. But if using another church or pastors layout of a series, outlines of communication or series or book helps your church, I see it as very beneficial and you of course personalize it to your local church and context.

  • Peter Dodge January 20, 2015 Reply

    The first time you preach something, you cite your source or biblical address. The second time you preach it, you say “it has been documented”. The third time you preach it you say “it has been said”. The fourth time you preach it your say, “it is widely accepted”.

    Plagiarism has been going on from the pulpit for years. Now, you better cite your source. Of course, there are those who like to make up their own facts.

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