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5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Preach Other People’s Sermons


These are interesting times for communicators and preachers.

Never have we had access to so many other people’s messages. And never have we felt more pressure in delivering our own.

Almost monthly I hear of pastors (most of whom will never make the headlines) who are losing their job because of plagiarism—using someone else’s content but passing it off as their own.

That’s just sad on about 100 levels.

First, it’s sad for their church, who lost a leader and saw some trust fractured.

Second, it’s sad for the pastor who obviously got into some kind of content trap he or she didn’t know how to get out of. I’m sure a few of the people who got fired intended to steal other people’s work and didn’t care about the consequences. But my guess is that’s a small group.

I’ll bet the majority actually just got caught in a trap of overwhelm and shame: they felt too busy/inadequate/desperate to write their own content, downloaded someone else’s, and were too ashamed/insecure/embarrassed to admit that. Rinse, lather and repeat and you have a fireable offense.

A third factor may be that vicious cycle of jealousy and inadequacy. Because we can access messages by world-class communicators every day for free (as can our congregations too), it’s not that hard to get lulled into thinking we can never measure up, so we beg, borrow and steal other people’s ideas without giving credit.

A Rip Off Epidemic

If you don’t think this is an epidemic, please know I’m not even close to being the most well-known preacher on the planet, nor the best-known writer. But my team has found other preachers preaching our local series verbatim, with no permission and zero attribution. Even the jokes were re-used.

Ditto with my blog. My team has found other bloggers who have taken my content, pasted it word for word into their blog, and written their name above the post as the author. (We’ve asked them to take it down.)

So what’s the problem with idea-theft, sermon-theft or writing-theft?

It’s an integrity issue. It’s a character issue.

And at the heart of it is giving credit where credit is due.

There is nothing wrong with using other people’s ideas. Only fools think they are truly original thinkers. There really isn’t much new under the sun, so to quote, share and borrow ideas is fine. You just need to give credit.

And that’s the crux of it. If you mostly do other people’s content, then you’ll end up saying, “today’s message is based on a message written by Mark Batterson/Beth Moore/Andy Stanley/Tim Keller/Steven Furtick/Sheryl Brady/John Ortberg.”

There is nothing wrong with that occasionally. A few times a year I’ll open a message saying “What’ I’m sharing with you today aren’t my ideas—they’re based on the work of X, or come from a message/book by Y.”

But do that week after week after week, and people will begin to realize you aren’t writing your own stuff. Which is exactly why most pastors who plagiarize resist giving credit.

So what should preachers do?

I suggest a simple guideline for preachers:

Write your own stuff. And if you didn’t, tell people.

That’s it.

So why do we want to rip off other communicators? There are at least 5 reasons that get pretty ugly if we’re honest.

1. You want people to think you’re smarter than you actually are

Let’s be honest…one reason we borrow other people’s ideas and make them appear to be ours is so it makes us look smarter than we are.

Don’t think you can give credit and still seem smart?

Just listen to Tim Keller. In virtually every message, Keller references a book he’s read or a thinker he’s borrowing from. He does this regularly and generously.

And guess what? Keller’s one of the sharpest thinkers alive today. Also one of the smartest.

Quoting other leaders doesn’t make you seem dumb. It actually makes you look smart.

It’s evidence you’ve read more than a few tweets, and that you’ve dug deep into the heart of history or current events. It’s a sign you’re not lazy.

Ripping people off is lazy. Learning from other authors and thinkers isn’t.

2. You lie

Lying is an integrity issue.

People rightly assume when a speaker, artist or writer shares something without citing a source, it’s their take on an issue.

Far too many preachers today are literally downloading another pastor’s messages every week and preaching them verbatim.

If you steal money, you get fired. If you steal ideas, maybe you should be fired too.

3. You stop growing

Of all the leaders and communicators who have their ideas ripped off, Andy Stanley is likely at top of the list. He’s one of the most quoted leaders alive today in the Western church, and for good reason. He’s brilliant.

I had a chance to talk with Andy on my Leadership Podcast and I asked him about how he felt about others ‘stealing’ his material and ideas. I loved his answer (you can listen to the episode here or on Apple Podcasts—Episode 1).

Andy said—so accurately—that preachers who preach other people’s messages forfeit the growth that comes with preparing a message from scratch. They miss the angst, the frustration and the tremendous reward that comes from wrestling down ideas until they come out in a powerful and helpful way.

Andy’s so right. Preachers, when you start stealing, you stop growing.

You also lose your own voice. If you’re like me, you may not be the biggest fan of your own voice, but it’s a voice God gave you and that God loves.

Further, if you’re simply a copycat, my suspicion is a younger audience will eventually tune you out. Why? Because Millennials can smell a lack of authenticity a mile away.

You may not be quite as clever or articulate as your favourite preacher, but you’re real. And real resonates.

But wait, you say, can’t you buy Andy’s sermons so you can reteach them at your church? Can’t you download Craig Groeschel’s messages and reteach them at your church? Both legally?

Yes, you can.

There can be strategic purposes for doing so. And when you do, give credit.

But on all those other weeks of the year, don’t lose the edge you gain by wrestling through your own ideas, your own reading of God’s word, and finding your own voice on a regular basis.

4. You lose touch with God

When you plagiarize, you lose touch with God in at least two significant ways.

First, the sins of lying and stealing are themselves a barrier. Confession stands between you and God.

Second, stealing ideas required zero reliance on the Holy Spirit for inspiration, direction, courage or insights.

Ironically, in trying to make your content better, you’ve made it worse. You’ve robbed it of its true power. The real power in preaching comes not from our words, but from what God does with our words.

Do the hard work. You and everyone around you will be better for it.

5. It creeps into other areas of your life

I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s generally true that when you compromise in one area of your life, it doesn’t take much to start compromising in other areas.

Sin is like a weed: It grows fast and you never have to water it.

The best way to tackle sin is to pull it out by its root before it creeps into other areas of your life.

So what do I do?

What should you do in a hyper-connected era when you and I are exposed to more ideas in a day than our grandparents were in a month or year?

First, use other peoples ideas generously. Just give credit where credit is due. Quote. Attribute. Link back.

That covers most of us.

But what about those preachers who realize they’re guilty of knowingly stealing entire messages or lines of thinking and passing it off as theirs..and no one has confronted them on it (yet)?

I would strongly encourage anyone in this category to come clean. Talk to your board. Explain what’s been happening, and tell them you want to stop.

See a counselor if you need to (there’s something inside that drove you there in the first place), and start writing fresh.

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In the Art of Better Preaching, Mark and I share everything we’ve learned about communicating in a way that will help your church grow without compromising biblical integrity. We cover detailed training on everything from interacting with the biblical text to delivering a talk without using notes, to writing killer bottom lines that people will remember for years.

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What do you think?

Am I being too hard on us as communicators? What’s been your experience?

Scroll down and leave a comment!


  1. Empecy on October 17, 2019 at 12:27 am

    What you write is true, but viewing the Christian life as the worldly in terms of plagiarism is where I don’t like hearing in the christendom. DON Moen say “shout to the Lord” and Darlene from Australia also sang the same song on their sold out album and I can’t decipher who is the real writer of that song yet, I never heard them fight.
    The blog A wrote was giving to A by God (the wisdom) and B decides to share with permission or acknowledging A doesn’t mean anything to me as long as it is written to convert people to the light and knowledge of God.
    God is the best author and in that case we should not be reading the bible and preach exactly what is in the bible.
    I read many Christian blogs and I see different understanding of the scriptures by different people and I came to that conclusion that if not for grace, no one in this generation will make heaven except the little babies.

  2. Sue on October 13, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    As someone whose pastor was let go for this very offense, I can tell you why it was such a big deal. When the plagiarism (word for word, including jokes/personal stories) was discovered, there was a realization that our pastor was not wrestling with the scripture and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead him in preparation for us, his flock. Reading someone else’s sermon is not evidence of the fruit a pastor should produce as one who is above reproach. There is an expectation that preaching and teaching (most churches) is your main obligation, therefore if you are taking shortcuts there, what sort of example are you setting? When confronted, he denied it. When irrefutable evidence was produced, he backtracked. When asked for an explanation, he was not able to provide one. He plagiarized, he lied about it when confronted, and was not repentant when given the opportunity. It was a very difficult experience for all, but one that helped me understand the bigger implications of having a pastor who plagiarized.

  3. Brad on October 12, 2019 at 8:34 am

    You left out the main reason to not use a canned sermon, whether plagiarized or freely given like Rick Warren’s.

    You run the risk of using apostate or heretical material from people like Beth Moore, Rick Warren or Andy Stanley.

    You also run the risk of becoming lazy and sloppy as a pastor and losing your heavenly crowns. Pastor’s and teachers are called to a higher standard, the Bible says so in several places.

    It appears that this article was written a little over a year ago based on the first comment date, All three of those were pushing an apostate heresy well before 2018 and all three have gotten worse since!

  4. Ambrose on October 2, 2019 at 8:05 am

    Even your criticism of others stealing your message is not original. Someone said this before penning down. But I have a few points:
    1. You sell, don’t I have the right to do with what I bought?
    2. The message is not your message. It’s God’s
    3. Reflect on Luke 17:10 (we are unworthy servants, we have done nothing more than our duty. Let God take the glory.

    • Robert on October 2, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      This is hilarious! “Even your criticism of others stealing your message is not original”. (Credited to Ambrose)…don’t want to be accused of plagiarism. The entire premise of this article of condemnation is based in stealing someone else’s criticism. Did Carey Nieuwhof give credit to the originator of this scathing article full of recriminations? NO! He is guilty of the same “sin” he condemns others for. I reiterate from my original post that the ONLY reason for Carey Nieuwhof to compose this judgmental article is to SELL his material. This article is nothing more than a money generator. He is counting on your guilt to motivate you to spend money you shouldn’t. Ministers have become so obsessed with THEIR messages, THEIR ministries, THEIR reputations that Christ is forgotten. We should be willing to, prefer our brothers above ourselves. (Credited to the Holy Bible, God’s Word) If every message comes from God, whether through a man or article, USE IT! Instead of giving credit to the man, give credit to God. It is not the vessel that receives praise but the possessor or said vessel.

      • David on October 2, 2019 at 3:46 pm

        This is why, long ago, I suggested that we leave this topic. It has been a collection of angry retorts that have served no good purpose. Give God the glory for His Word and focus on leading people to Christ. That is our mission.

        • Robert on October 2, 2019 at 3:52 pm

          Exactly. The article itself is inflammatory. This article never should have been published.

      • Steven on October 2, 2019 at 5:29 pm

        Amen, amen and amen! Perfectly said!

  5. Jong on September 27, 2019 at 11:43 pm

    Amen… Its nice to share other’s good sermon

  6. Sister RENEE on September 25, 2019 at 2:31 am

    How is it plagiarism if they are selling the sermons on line them selves?

    • David on September 25, 2019 at 7:12 am

      Excellent question. I’ve asked that many times.

  7. Senyegah on September 18, 2019 at 8:04 am

    Topics that pastors preach do we work with them or we seat back and criticize, and you have the time and go to google search and see if those topics has been preached by some one.

    what is wrong if a pastor come across a topic which he is touched to convey that massage to his members

    • Steven on September 18, 2019 at 10:33 am

      I agree. If a pastor’s goal is to bless others with their message, they should feel honored that others would retransmit it. That should be enough validation. But it isn’t. If I had messages that others around the globe were re-preaching I would feel so honored that the messages gained new feet and my effort was blessing so many more than just my congregation. Really! What an honor! Instead they stand back and accuse their own teammates of theft if they don’t get personal credit. That is like a ballplayer saying he should get credit for every hit a teammate gets because he used HIS bat he spent so much time carving. What a disgrace and how disgusting that must be to God.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on September 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm

      I would say that it is completely ok to preach on the same topic that someone else has preached on, It’s not ok to steal from them word-for-word without giving them credit.

  8. Jim on September 2, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Like the old hymn, how about we try to “trust and obey” when it comes to preaching, teaching and everything else? Are we going to be better formed as we engage the words of others or as we encounter the Living Word of God?
    Saying we’re busy and weary is an excuse (take a peek at promises within Isaiah). How hard is it to open the Bible and read and comment and proclaim on the fly if that’s considered a worst case scenario where you serve? What happened to being “prepared in and out of season?”
    Most in our area seem to preach 25-30 minutes, and a quick check once yielded a hard-to-believe average of less than 15 minutes for the mainline protestant churches. If we know the Lord with an Abiding Spirit and turn to the Word, written and alive, what is the difficulty in finding something to say within the expected time frame of the congregation? Are we able to give an account or “reason for the Hope we have within us” or not?
    And this is not just about preacher talk, people are suffering as much from what is not being preached, taught and counseled, as by what is. By relying on other’s sermons, instead of the Holy Spirit, we run great risk of not only missing what the Lord is seeking to reveal to us and our people, in a given place and time, but also risk being part of the problem, instead of the solution because Jesus said to judge by the fruit: Across the board, American Christianity, as is so often perceived and practiced today, is far from the Biblical witness of Jesus and His followers. Christian formation has too often turned into malformation.
    “Cheap Grace” and the lack of a call to discipleship (Bonhoeffer) are rampant, creating what the Scripture warned: “a form of religion without the power” or even an apostate “church.” Many will say “it’s all about the love,” but not even be aware, or certainly lack top-of-mind awareness, that Jesus said if we love Him we’ll obey His teachings and commands, but they are not know because they are not preached/taught with priority. If we’re downloading the latest 7 part series on how to do X created by a church marketing/writing team and presented to a big branded pastor for him to gloss over, our people are likely not hearing the fullness of what needs to be heard for the edification – strengthening – of the Saints.
    Giving attribution isn’t the issue in and of itself; it’s how tools that should be used for good are being badly. Easy access to sermons and writings and pads or monitors that can prompt and present Scripture should all be good, but in reality these tools allow pastors, in one form or another, to fake it. For better or worse, many, if not most congregations, especially if larger, will have their idea of who the pastor is formed by the sermons, and if those sermons are from someone else, on a regular basis, this can easily present a pastoral facade. On more than one occasion, the pastor conversing at conference or lunch doesn’t seem to be the same pastor on Sunday morning. And not just in matters of presentation or other communication considerations, but rather situations where the ministry emphasis and theology spoken by a pastor at lunch is not evident in that same pastor at the pulpit.
    I’ve heard with credibility of pastors spending enormous hours each week googling other’s words, downloading or compiling, then using various techniques and practices to hide or obscure this. If you really want to pretend that you are preaching by total reliance on the present power of Jesus and the movement of the Spirit, here are some technique’s you can use (if other’s want to add to the list, please do): Create a compiled manuscript but hide it within a iPad so people can’t see what it really is. You can also pretend that your pulpit or music stand only holds Scripture when in reality it’s a manuscript or a near-manuscript of downloaded material edited into “notes.” Walk away from the pulpit, stand or table to make eye contact while telling a personal story used to pretend the message you have is really your own, then walk back to your “Scripture” to read it, but then also take a good look at your downloaded material notes. Use small modifications and minor title edits so the intellectually curious, skeptics and visitors or those viewing online or on TV won’t easily catch you. You can also spend many hours mulling over others’ material, convince yourself it’s your own because you took all those words and used them like ingredients tossed into a bowl then pretend you actually were in God’s Word and trusted Him for the sermon; this level of familiarity will allow you to use an old professional school technique of making a large outline, then subsequently smaller outlines, until you can get it to the size of a card; you can then hide the card in the pulpit, music stand, table or even tape it into your Bible so people don’t know it’s there as you walk around waving it.
    And now, ladies and gentlemen, we have the greatest scheme of them all – straight from acting school (and yes, I know of this having been done): not only print but also read and record “your” compiled or downloaded sermon, spend double-digit hours (I thought this was about being really too busy) each week in front of a mirror with your manuscript in front of you and your headphones playing your read and recorded sermon, while you “practice your lines” by speaking them for the purpose of rote learning and viola’ you can now pretend to be a Spirit-filled pastor preaching without notes, and without any pesky evidence that might point the congregation toward thinking your words came from others.
    This is not truth. It is deceit. Perhaps you started traveling this idolatrous path because malformed pastors malformed you and called it mentoring, maybe you were pressured by congregants or leaders, maybe it’s insecurity, criticism or prideful expectations twisted by this world. Repent and turn back to reliance upon Jesus who called you and will enable you to do His ministry and share His word to His people.

  9. Emmanuel on August 19, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    And the things that you have heard me say among many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be qualified to teach others as well. 2 Timothy 2:2
    GOD’S WORD® Translation
    You’ve heard my message, and it’s been confirmed by many witnesses. Entrust this message to faithful individuals who will be competent to teach others.
    2 Timothy 1:13
    Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching you have heard from me, with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus

    • TTC on August 19, 2019 at 8:12 pm

      Out of all of the comments I’ve read, I still can’t justify intentionally not mentioning that my talk was at the least, inspired by another’s sermon. Even if I couldn’t remember the person’s name. In everything else in life. Most people agree that you should not take credit for someone else work. It’s called being dishonest. That’s what we teach kids.
      Thank God his truth can bless the hearers even in this situation.

    • Teresa on August 21, 2019 at 7:12 pm

      They preached it so people can hear it no? Why are they mad when you are just sharing their thoughts? Plus let’s suppose that the word their preaching is correct then it should get out everywhere. But let’s say that people or demons or angels fooled God then? Then yes please do not share a liars word.

    • Jerry on September 15, 2019 at 5:20 pm


  10. DH on August 6, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Our pastor has been reading something off his notes during preaching and I decided to simply do a Google search of the title message to see if he is using someone else sermon notes and sure enough I found that he has used them and never told where they came from. He does add his own thoughts between the notes he found. He did take a word out of some titles to make it his own. It is dishearting to know he plagiarized some of his messages.

    • Mike on August 6, 2019 at 6:28 pm

      Mark Twain believed there was no such thing as an original thought or an original idea, because every subject on Earth had been pored over, written about and analyzed.
      Did your Pastor lead you to believe it was an original sermon or did he simply preach it? I wouldnt worry too much over it. Lets be more concerned over souls being won, lives being blessed. If God can use the harlot Rahab in the story of Jericho and make a donkey talk then God can do whatever he pleases to accomplish his plan and purpose. I wish we were as passionate for souls as we were about plagerism.

      • Jong on September 27, 2019 at 11:43 pm

        Amen… Its nice to share other’s good sermon

    • Robert Ziriak on August 6, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      What I’ve learned as a pastor is if the saints respond to what I’m saying, it compels me to be better and do better. Hopefully, you are not the kind of church attender who sits in the assembly and criticizes but actually prays for your pastor.

  11. S. Evansi on August 3, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    As long souls are saved, copy sermons if you don’t have time to study the bible. There people who are good and talking and not good at planning their own sermon. And also they are some who have good facts but they cant express them. Both are called by God…Moses and Aron…
    If you are out there don’t think its a sin to copy and reduplicate that sermon or teaching, do it, for the bible itself have those guys who had the same view….the synoptic. The bottom line is, are you using that information to save souls or to make money. If it is to save souls there is no sin…those who have opened their mouth to come against the copying what do they want to achieve at the end of the day….i wonder if its the same heaven….search your heart before you comment on the things of God brethren otherwise some of those who thought their messages are theirs have been taken by God before they new who copied the messages. Lets concentrate on populating the gospel and bring out the true doctrine of Jesus Christ than this debate of who owns what and do what…
    Jesus is coming….

  12. Joanne on July 26, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Very interesting article with noteworthy insights. I agree that preachers should give credit for the material we use that someone else’s.
    What amazes me is the fact that while no idea is original, our approach to it can be unique. When I get inspiration for a message and begin to research the text, I am often amazed that someone else has already come up with the same title or the same points.

    • Benry Kunf on July 30, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      Advise given to me as a bivocational pastor. All of us milk many cows, each of us churns their own butter. It seems egotistical to think we have original thoughts.

      • Steven Schnedler on August 6, 2019 at 7:55 pm

        Agreed. Sadly, some are more interested in personal credit than getting the message out there.

      • JH on August 31, 2019 at 2:48 pm

        I agree!! There is nothing new under the sun!

  13. Robert Ziriak on July 22, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    Honestly, according to this article, we should not even use the Bible since those are writings of other people.

    • Fa'atoafe Faleatua Faleatua on July 22, 2019 at 9:10 pm

      I must say God is Good, All the Time!. I fully agreed with all the points you’ve highlighted in this write-up. I’ve drifted towards depending on others ideas because I’m so busy with other parts of the ministry. And I’ve found that you’ve hit the nail on its head, with the point – about ‘No Growth’ – as a result.
      So thank you for the reminder and the wake-up Call. I will now have to go back to how I started and rely on God’s Spirit guidance.
      May God’s blessings be upon your ministry always.
      With sincere appreciation…
      Faatoafe Faleatua… 23rd July 2019.

  14. Paul Okpali on July 20, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks writer,
    I agreed that the person will stop growing
    I agreed that the person will loose touch with God
    I agreed that the person will looses his voice
    I agreed that the person will not flow well with holy spirit
    This writeup has changed my life because I am a busy Pastor and don’t have much time to study and i copy messages online and with little refining and preach it. I notice that am not growing as before, my boldness is fading, looses communication with the spirit and weak.
    I really appreciate your writeup. Am going back to God fully.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on July 22, 2019 at 5:58 pm

      Glad to help!

  15. Rev. Ralph DiChiara on July 7, 2019 at 8:51 am

    Hey Cary, Mark, my advice is just put all your sermons out there for free, and share how the Lord is inspiring you! I’m sure you guys are givers in many other areas of your lives, so why not give the best of what God has given you? The satisfaction you’ll get from knowing other preachers are using your sermons will be awesome. Update you blog and call it “Fresh Ideas for All”.
    Also, haven’t you ever re-cycled one of your own sermons when you were void of inspiration? Picked a sermon from a few years back hoping no one in the congregation will recognize it? Preachers do it all the time and often tell the congregation, “I’d like to preach a sermon from a few years back, because I feel the Holy Spirit is moving me to remind you all of this topic”, when that wasn’t the case at all. They too were lazy, and lied to the congregation. I know you’ve been there. Let it go bro! I feel you set yourself up for this, and only believe you’ll dig in deeper because of pride. If Salvation is free, then so are your sermons!
    Hey reach out to me if you’d like. I’m from New England where the culture is very different up here. I’ll give you a slightly different perspective of what your used too. Rev. Ralph 774 696-5391

    • David on July 7, 2019 at 10:08 am

      A wise pastor once told me that if you have a sermon that you only preach one time and never use again, it probably wasn’t very good. Also, brother, I encourage you to be cautious when suggesting that pastors lie about the reason they are reproaching a message after some time. I have done it many times for many reasons. Usually, I take the message and do more work to refine it, seek God’s direction for that moment and that congregation, so it can be timely.

      • David on July 7, 2019 at 10:08 am

        I meant reproaching a message, not reproaching.

        • David on July 7, 2019 at 10:09 am

          I’ll try that one more time- repreaching.

    • Marla Kramer on July 17, 2019 at 2:18 am

      I was shocked that this is a common practice. I noticed it around Christmas two years ago. I had listened to many sermons on YouTube and began noticing many sermons had the same titles. I recognized some of the titles from books available at Christian bookstores. I also saw there’s a big market for these sermons. Copy cat teachers and preachers a sad indictment on the shepherds who don’t study the Word or seek the Lord for the fresh manna He has for their own congregation. It’s very disheartening when you realize this has been happening for years in many churches who brag about being led by the Holy Spirit. God help us. Pay to pray, pay to preach, get someone to visit your flock when they’re sick, we are possessors of merchandised Christianity. Lazy, calloused preachers. What do they do with their time and money are they even called by God?

    • Marla Kramer on July 17, 2019 at 2:35 am

      Shocking to me how many are defending plagerism here. Theft is theft. What if someone stole your patent and copied your product to make money from it? “Everybody’s doing it!” We tell kids that’s a lousy excuse for getting on board the sin bandwagon. You can be expelled from University or suspended from school for plagerism. You can be sued in court for copyright infringement. Why? Because it’s wrong, it’s theft, illegal and sinful. So many here justifying this sinful practice. Very sad. There are no excuses. You’re ripping your people off, taking their money and not even seeking God on their behalf.

      • Robert Ziriak on July 18, 2019 at 6:20 pm

        Marla, how do you know they aren’t seeking God? If God gave a message to one preacher, could He not give it to another? The preacher does not own the message if God gives it. God owns it. Plagiarism is defined as: the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. Since the preacher gives credit to God for giving said preacher the material than it is no longer plagiarism. It is more reprehensible to think that a man is taking credit for something God gives. Sounds like a man may be trying to take the place of God if said man is taking credit for anything God gives. Sounds familiar. Lucifer did the same thing.

        • Steven Schnedler on July 18, 2019 at 6:22 pm

          Robert, you hit the nail on the head.

  16. Mike on July 4, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Seems like to me if God gave someone a sermon, then, actually its Gods sermon. His name should go on it. If God gives or inspires me to write a sermon I believe he wants it shared with everyone. Since I cant be everywhere, then I say to all the preachers to take its content and preach it as an inspired word and hopefully many lives will be changed. If you must give someone credit, give God the credit. Just saying…….

    • Steven on July 4, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Perfectly expressed. Thanks.

  17. Robert on June 27, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Ecc 1:9  The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 
    Ecc 1:10  Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. 

    From this passage it is obvious no matter how smart one thinks he is, how original one may think they are, etc they are wrong. One would almost be honored someone else would think so highly of their material that another would want to duplicate it. Personally, I seek God and attempt to feel after Him for each service without copying another person. However, since there is nothing new under the sun, then every thought, every message, etc is plagiarized. It seems this article is born more out of pride than concern for the spiritual well-being of another preacher. Basically, you are saying if you don’t credit you don’t want your material used. How arrogant is that? God used a donkey to speak to the prophet, we are no more or less than a donkey. This entire article was used to sell a course the author is pushing like a drug. It is pride and money driven. That is more sad than a preacher who lacks the ability to “come up with his own material”.

    • teey on July 17, 2019 at 10:42 pm

      i guess you’re right about the content of this article…

  18. Jim Carlin MD academic radiologist on June 24, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Dad and grandfathers preached good sermons-turned around bankrupt churches-ministered to families/the death and dying
    Sadly the message he gave his kids was “you’re not good enough” he didn’t or couldn’t listen to his kids
    Whatever we did wasn’t the “full time church ministry sis helped the welfare system work–I served in depressed inner city hospitals Everyone has a ministry and deserves credit – no t shaming because they didn’t do it your way

  19. Haydee on June 10, 2019 at 11:58 am

    I totally get what your staying…here but is it not God that is meant to get the GLORY…from any work you do….and if your message is being inspired by GOD and if it is being borrowed, stolen and or plagiarise by other men or women of GOd if a ( that is open to interpretion) soul is saved and is being brought to God’s kingdom should that not count. But I get what your saying here..just wondered how much in the great scheme of things this matters as long as people are being saved… ???? .

    • Steven Schnedler on June 10, 2019 at 3:04 pm

      Agree 100%. It’s easy to lose sight of what the end goal is and be more concerned about who gets the credit. I think God is able to keep score just fine.

      • Robert on June 27, 2019 at 5:43 pm

        The entirety of this article is summarized with offering a course at the end. This article is meant for one purpose, to make people feel bad and spend money so they are not in “sin”. I am actually saddened by this article because the recurring theme is, give me credit or else. So sad.

    • Jo Mani on June 16, 2019 at 3:34 am

      Wow! This sermon does converts the soul! Doesn’t it?

      This is exactly what the Church of God has become, mans business. So many men of God have become God of men. We’ve become so territorial we forget the ultimate goal and aim. That we must win souls for Christ. Does it matter if someone uses my sermon to do that? Absolutely No!
      Come to think of it, who says it’s my sermon? Am I the subject? No. Am I the reference, the bible? No!, Did I write the reference? No!
      Am I the owner of the spoken word, intelligence of or the gift of speaking? Totally totally No. The Holy Spirit it is that gives good sermon inspirations, not me, not you!

      We should be careful we don’t go down the secular route…plagiarism, me, my, mine
      This happens when men seek glory.
      All the glory must go to God
      Does it matter if the Holy Spirit has only used me as vessels to form a sermon and it’s used by others for the glorification of God?
      What am I in the equation of all of these? A mere vessel.
      Can a bottle or cup lay claim to the ownership of the wine poured in it? Absolutely no!

      Kindly delete this nonsense article if you still can. It does not glorify our God. It is rather distracting and can only be interpreted as Satan’s ploy again to stunt the good word of our God from spreading. The harvest is too plenty with only few labourers. Let a labourer borrow my tool, I don’t mind.its all for us to achieve the same goal. There’s too much evil, wickedness, illness and agonies in the world that we should be concerned with.
      Don’t forget Jesus died for these.let us stop self glorification and self seeking habits. There are missionaries out there laying down their lives and you are here seeking self glorification. Excuse me!

      Paul would not, I repeat would not stop , Timothy, his tutee, from preaching the sermon that Paul had preached.
      This happens when Men forget their mission in Christ and all they seek is their glory in churches
      Though there’s so much to say about this but I’ll stop here

      • Steven Schnedler on June 16, 2019 at 7:09 am

        So incredibly well said. Thanks!

      • TJ on July 5, 2019 at 7:22 am

        Wow.I totally agree.All Glory goes to God!!! The Bible is the Word of God inspired. Breathed on by The Holy Spirit!!!The same with someone’s book music or sermon.Mention the persons name but make sure to GIVE GOD ALL THE GLORY WHICH IS HIS !!!We are dust,vesesls.

  20. Alex Nunez on May 18, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    The bible is full other peoples sermons that is being preached ! Paul in the bible preached Isaiah’s sermons. Jesus told his disciples “freely you have received freely give! So why are preachers and teachers selling books and doctrines, bible courses like they own it? Its Jesus that owns it all

  21. Alex Nunez on May 18, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    The bible is full other peoples sermons that is being preached ! Paul in the bible preached Isaiah’s sermons. Jesus told his disciples “freely you have received freely give! So why are preachers and teachers selling books and doctrines, bible courses like they own it?

  22. Gift Mvuleni on May 6, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    What a powerful comment sir as i was busy reading your post, it reminded me of da verse “it is no longer us living in this world but God within us” but also spiritual growth’s needed in a Christian’s life

  23. Matt Hybarger on May 6, 2019 at 12:04 am

    I see Pastor Carey’s point. And in principle, I tend to agree.. but speaking from my own experience, I have had a couple of my songs (one in particular) recorded by people literally around the world that never even asked for permission, let alone secured a mechanical license. At first I thought, “hey! wait a minute!!”

    Then upon reflection, I realized that what I wrote to bless people in my circle, was being used to bless people in places I will never get to. The people who recorded my song actually expanded the audience ! regionally, nationally and globally people were now hearing a message that God gave me locally in Fort Worth, TX. When you look at it that way.. it’s like… WOW GOD!

    I like to give credit where it is due whenever I can…when I discover a great preacher, I like to share it! But at the end of the day, if we’re honest… the source was the Holy Spirit… so it is God who deserves the credit and of course the glory.

    • Steven Schnedler on May 6, 2019 at 1:30 am

      That is awesome Matt! Thanks for sharing. Love your heart brother!

    • Kingsley on May 16, 2019 at 10:26 pm

      Beloveth Matt, thanks a lot for your contribution, It’s wonderful and I appreciated how you did the analyses. God bless you.
      Nothing wrong though in giving reference to a person whose God’s inspired idea you are sharing, but let it not be a habit as some preachers have resorted to. Some do it to take credit for the whole thing and some others do it because they felt the message is too good for only them to hear. Now, it comes down to one thing; THE ISSUE OF THE HEART! What’s the motive behind your deed?

  24. Chris on May 5, 2019 at 4:58 am

    Yes, it is good to write your own sermon but I don’t agree with you.

    What is wrong with preaching your message that will bless people and win souls to the kingdom of God?
    The Bible we qoute, we qoute it freely. You are not sued for plagiarism for qouting Apostle Paul, neither are you sued for qouting Prophet Isaiah.
    I think, we all have a common goal (win more souls for Christ), except your goal is different. If your message is good and will win souls for Christ, why won’t I preach it to win souls to the kingdom since the ultimate goal is to win more souls to the kingdom of Christ.
    Is anything wrong with that?

  25. B. Mathew on May 2, 2019 at 1:48 am

    Yes you are right, but why do you share your work when don’t want other people to use it. I can preach from your topic, perhaps some of your key points, but the examples may be from my locality. Property rights but not really for the word of God.
    You never know how many lost souls your sermon has saved in this world. I plea to you that you may allow people use what you have shared ONLY TO SAVE SOULS FOR CHRIST JESUS.

    • Steven Schnedler on May 2, 2019 at 12:06 pm

      I agree with you, but unfortunately too much of ministry is now big business and is handled no differently than the secular world. The “in-thing” now is to have a podcast and expensive courses to sell. There are still some, thank God, that are grateful when their stuff is shared and duplicated in the spirit of 2 Timothy 2:2. The others place more value on their products rather than people and want to make sure they get recognition. Sad.

  26. TT Carol on April 11, 2019 at 6:59 am

    To intentionally deceive your listening audience is simply wrong and not at all loving. Why is it so hard to at least give credit to the originator? I do it all the time. I learn so much from the teaching of others (along with my own studies) I love sharing and giving credit to the source of my information. Maybe it’s a pride issue to not choose to honor the original author or speaker?

    • Geneva Peterson on April 30, 2019 at 5:08 am

      Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Sharing a message that others have posted and have given permission to use is not a sin. Trying to make a profit from it is truly wrong. Preaching under the anointing of God will bless the people of God in a mighty way, Be led by the Holy Ghost, He will not lead you wrong.

  27. Robert Neiman on April 11, 2019 at 12:14 am

    A pastor spending 75 percent of his time in his study working on his sermon is the more biblical model than a one hour cut and paste job by a pastor stealing someone else’s sermon. How can spending more time on a sermon be scandalous? Especially if that pastor has a calling to spend that amount of time in study.

  28. Raymond Wiggins on March 30, 2019 at 7:58 am

    Our ultimate example should be Jesus Christ and His Word. The Bible is full of examples of people, including Jesus Christ, quoting others and rarely giving credit to others. Why? Because they only cared the message. They didn’t care about getting credit from any human or giving credit to any human other than Jesus Christ. They just wanted to lead people to God.
    When we worry about getting credit for a sermon, and even potentially slandering our brother or even damaging his ministry (which ultimately can harm souls), we are treading on thin ice.
    This article takes modern cultural norms of jealousy, and applies that as a standard for the church and ministry. God can touch our hearts in many ways. When we are touched by someone else’s message, we should share that with those around us. If we really believe the concept that God is speaking through that message, why give credit to man? God is truth. Give Him, and only Him the credit. Unless we want to give our listeners a way to find more information on a subject, or if we want them to be able to confirm the truth of what we are saying, then there is no good reason to continually give credit to man. We only have a short amount of time to preach; why waste it? We only have a limited amount of time to study; why spend countless hours trying to find the original source and give credit, when we could better spend our time ministering to those around us? Throughout history, including writers of the Bible, men have used what has been said by others, sometimes verbatim, without giving credit to man. If God touches to our heart through another person’s message, we should share that with others.
    Giving credit to man is not a Christian concept. Giving all credit to God is. If we have a spirit of jealousy and must be verbally rewarded for “our” messages, then we are just admitting what we preach is not of God; because, if we know what we preach is from God, then why demand credit for ourselves. Nothing could be further from the character and integrity of Jesus Christ, our ultimate example!
    All of the above being said, I give credit in writings, because it is the cultural and even legal norm. I also do it so the work will be considered scholarly and more difficult to refute. But in preaching and verbal teaching, I do not believe we should waste our time, for the reasons I mentioned above. God bless all on both sides of this issue!

    • Michael on April 26, 2019 at 2:57 pm

      I believe what you shared brother is within the spirit of God’s heart. The message is not mine, but God’s. Granted, some are theologians and are gifted to research and develop Holy Spirit inspired messages whereas others have a prophetic gift that boldly communicates God’s message as researched by the theologian. What the author of this article conveniently overlooked saying is that many of these gifted Pastors have staff that assist in the research and development of their messages.

    • DC on June 10, 2019 at 4:42 pm

      You say that they quoted others without giving them credit. If they didnt give them credit, how do you know they were quoting someone else?

      When you preach you tell someone where to turn in the Bible which has a reference and in turn, gives credit to the original author.

      Our tendency is to point fingers at the preachers expecting credit for their work but forget that if we are willing to let our church family believe that what we preach is ours rather than someone else’s is dishonest on our part. It is a heart issue. When it comes down to it, we dont want to give credit to the original author of the sermon because we are embarrassed and know that it is wrong. It is not pride on the original authors part, it is deception on the persons part who is unwilling to admit that what he preaches is not his own.

      Preparing sermons is a hard task and it can be time consuming but if this is what He called us to, I believe the labor is well rewarded .

  29. Chris on March 29, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Disagree 110 percent. You are stating an ethic as if it were a moral. Ethics are societal expectations. Morals are God-given truths that transcend cultures. After all, God created all peoples and has the right to challenge any of their ethics. What we now call plagiarism was not even a thing when the gospels were written. The gospel writers obviously borrowed from each other – verbatim in places. At other times, they copied with redactions. At other times, they copied with additions.

    The idea of plagiarism arose out of a world where people want credit for their authorship because they are seeking fame. Then, once the printing press was invented, and people could earn money from book sales, plagiarism became inportant because claiming credit for someone else’s content was clearly robbing them of income based on their work. Prior to the printing press, the only money involved in authoring a book was paid by those who commissioned such works; there were no book sale royalties. Before the printing press, books were all handwritten, and a person purchasing a book was paying for the labor involved in transcribing and binding the book; they were not paying an author’s royalty.

    Now let’s apply this knowledge to sermons and blogs by the professional speakers known as “pastors”, even though the true definition of a pastor is not the professional sermon-delivering kind that we see practiced in so many religious organizations today. These professional sermon-writers are almost universally paid by their church to write and deliver these messages. The messages are then given freely to all who will listen. No royalties are charged.

    Further, the kingdom of God is SUPPOSED to operate differently than the greedy, fame-seeking world. Jesus said “Freely you have received. Freely give.” Messages are not to be given with the intent of impressing the hearers to think highly of the message-preparer or message-presenter. The apostle Paul took this to heart by not only relinquishing his right to earn a living from preaching the gospel (he paid his own way by working side jobs), but by welcoming others who in a sense competed with him in preaching the gospel, so as to take away some of Paul’s “market share”. As long as the gospel was being preached, Paul rejoiced. After all, wasn’t the preaching of the gospel the ENTIRE POINT? To get God’s message to mankind, not to seek profit or fame?

    Similarly, Mark and Luke both borrowed from Matthew in writing the gospels (though many scholars today have been misled into believing in an imaginary “Q” manuscript because they don’t realize that the process of incorporating others’ content into your own writings can take not only the form of verbatim copying, but of redacting whatever you wish, editing whatever you wish, and adding your own unique content wherever you wish. Oh, and you switch between all of the above whenever you wish. Thus it is impossible through textual criticism to know who copied what from whom.)

    If you are willing to impose the modern ethical idea of plagiarism on the gospel writers, then I’d be interested in having you write an article on how they were wrong. If, however, the gospel writers were not guilty of moral failure, and if it is true that in the kingdom of God we are seeking God’s fame and not our own, and if it is true that we are truly working for God’s kingdom instead of our own kingdom where we think we can ride the coattails of Jesus to our own superstar fame, then credit-giving is not really a thing in the kingdom of God. All credit goes to God. If you think that the kingdom of God is subservient to a culture’s ideas of ethics, you need to read your Bible further. Jesus challenged his culture so strongly that they put him to death. He disrupted an entire industry by casting the sellers of sacrificial animals out of the temple. In our culture, that would result in lawsuits and jail time. Jesus talked to a Samaritan woman – unsupervised. Imagine the scandal today. Jesus ignored all the cultural ethics of washing hands before he ate, avoiding work on the sabbath, and letting little children interrupt adult conversations. Culture is not authoritative in moral manners. Ethics are not morally binding on a believer. We answer to a higher command to love each other. And no, loving one another does not mean that we have to respect the fame-seeking of Christian clergy by worrying about the cultural ethic of avoiding plagiarism in promoting God’s kingdom.

    So let me ask which drum you are marching to, and whose system do you consider authoritative? Jesus’ kingdom with its moral absolutes that are based on love for God and others, and self-sacrifice? Or modern western culture with its crazy ethics that say plagiarism is wrong but same-sex cohabitation and murder of unborn children are acceptable?

    As Jesus said, “stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” If you have a problem with someone reusing material that you prepared, when they are doing so in order to reach people for God’s kingdom, then you are in the wrong “business”, and need to hang up your hat. “Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.” – The Apostle Paul (cited not to “give credit where credit is due”, but to reference a higher authority than either you or myself when it comes to matters of Christian morality)

  30. Ishwar Bhola on February 21, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    When preachers preach on a Sunday, are they not equipping the Church. If i one day become a preacher and
    use some of preaching that i received from my Church, is it that bad, it helped me become a better person, it brought conviction,took me closer to GOD, , maybe not word for word, but to say i cannot use none of it, then why even go to Bible college.Ultimately the Holy Spirit is the teacher, as a Christian is it really his preaching or the Holy Sprit empowering him…….think guys, stop acying as the world and be excited that someone was touched with your spirit filled message and decided to use some of it, not passing it as his own .

    • Steven L Schnedler on April 11, 2019 at 7:32 am

      Amen brother!

  31. Elsie on February 5, 2019 at 1:51 am

    I use to have a pastor who use to preach other preachers sermons, verbatim including the jokes. before I discovered that I started to feel like his preaching were powerful and true to the carnal ear but they lacked anointing. And he would start with statements like “last night when I was in my prayer closet” or “today I’m going to share with you a fresh massage straight from the throne of God”. I ended up coming from church feeling like I just did not eat enough word. So I ended up reading and watching teachings on internet right after church just to feel fired up. While doing so I ended up following the same preachers who’s work he plagiarized. So on Sunday I have to watch him lie to me everyday that he got a massage straight from the holy spirit but I already watched that teaching. It pained me and I could not tell anyone in church. I eventually left that church.

    • Sarah on March 31, 2019 at 6:21 pm

      Something similar happened to me. I have the plagiarized sermons downloaded as well.

      • kerosi on April 12, 2019 at 1:50 am

        Dear Servant of the Lord,

        Greetings in the name of our savior Jesus Amen.

        Thank you very much for your Website.I have learned your teachings and beliefs.I thank the Lord also that through the internet i have met with you. And we thank our lord so much because of your good teachings Concerning to the lords people.

        I am a born again Christian fellowship and we have a small fellowship of 67 church members and we would kindly request you to learn more about you and if possible you send us your teaching materials.

        We are eager to see every believer transformed by God’s word, in the context of a loving and Christ-like community, in order to shine forth as witnesses of the grace of Jesus Christ, and to see the lost discover the saving work and eternal worth of Jesus Christ

        We will request you to visit us here in Kenya to teach and train us in our church in God’s timing.Thank you and pray for our church and the orphans in your daily prayers.

        We will be glad to receive again from you

        Yours in Christ
        Brother Kerosi

  32. Mopseys on January 22, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    I am sorry but I don’t see what the big deal. The whole point of preaching is to bring souls to the Kingdom, to build a relationship with God Almighty by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Everything else is vanity. Preachers should feel privileged and honoured if their message helped to save a soul. Who gave them the wisdom to write the messages God. Whether it’s attributed to you or not the most important thing is a soul was saved. I have never used any of your messages, by the way.. May the Lord grant us all wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Amen.

    • Steven L Schnedler on January 22, 2019 at 6:18 pm

      A big amen! Instead of being grateful others are giving legs to the work they did and multiplying it, thus blessing more people, as Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ”, they are worried about getting personal, individual credit. Can we possibly imagine Paul scolding Timothy, calling him a liar with no integrity because he preached something he heard Paul preach? We have too much of a worldly mindset, which is what happens when we turn ministry into big business.

      • Raymond Wiggins on March 30, 2019 at 8:02 am

        Amen. Amen. Amen

    • Apostle D. X. Lay on February 17, 2019 at 9:27 pm

      I’ll simply say this. We will never all come to the same conclusion. Although I would love it for mankind to. I agree with points that each of you made. My perception is simply this. The word of God is this, the word of God. Taking credit for anything God gave you as a Word to share with His sheep is not of God. Although I may hear a word from the Lord I promise you that God is not a respecter of persons and will and can give the same message to someone else. I understand how you may feel about plaigurism and I never read a sermon word for word. I may use a outline but the word that God gives me will be totally different. Then at time I may start with your outline but God takes me somewhere else. So I know it’s not about what I wanna do but its about Him that sent me.

      God bless.

    • Raymond Wiggins on March 30, 2019 at 8:00 am


  33. Scott Frary on January 6, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    Here is the problem that I have with this. Today my pastor used the Levi Lusko sermon series (You in 5 Years) and used it almost verbatim, even down to the jokes, all the while stating this is what he received during his prep time with God. I have no problem with borrowing and using content from others sermons, but don’t claim that this is from your own time spent with God. It’s lazy at best and disingenuous at worst.

    • Steven Schnedler on January 6, 2019 at 9:08 pm

      Maybe God prepped your pastor through Levi Lusko. LOL!

      • Scott Frary on January 6, 2019 at 9:29 pm

        Lol. Maybe I’ll suggest everyone stay home on Sunday mornings and just watch the original sermon on the internet. Wonder what church attendance would become?

        • Robert on June 27, 2019 at 5:52 pm

          LOL. Maybe if your pastor had the loyalty and affirmation of the congregation, he would feel more inspired.

      • Michelle Maragni on July 12, 2019 at 12:50 pm

        I have been reading through several of these comments. Alot here is very troubling to me. When a preacher/teacher is anointed to give a message from God he/she should not be stealing a sermon. It will not be anointed. God speaks to you about a subject, you pray and study, get references from scripture, and if you see other information from other references you should mention that.
        I lead a women’s group and teach sunday school. I find alot of great sermons on line and study scriptural Bible studies. I always let people know that I found this information and from whom to back up the Subject that the Holy Spirit layed on my heart and felt I needed to share with others. For the Glory Of God. I direct that message towards myself first and then to others so it may help them.

        • Steven Schnedler on July 17, 2019 at 3:22 pm

          You may not use other people’s sermons, but I suggest you use a dictionary, for the glory of God of course. The words are “a lot”. “Alot” does not exist. Picky? Maybe, but you just accused some of your fellow Christian ministers of being thieves with no anointing.

  34. AD Hatfield on December 25, 2018 at 3:00 am

    I’ve taught college rhetoric for 20 years and, of course, had to handle research and sources for my own graduate degree. I can assure you that students in my freshman comp courses would easily be able to recognize what our minister does weekly as plagiarism. Why should we have lower standards for preachers? Part of the problem is that they’re being paid as some sort of set-apart person who has great (spiritual?) insight. If you’re just mashing up sources, that’s not inspired or even terribly difficult. I just want the attribution, and not just because it’s fair. We require it in academia so we can see if the writer or speaker has himself handled the sources accurately, and to allow us to follow up with our own research. I hear our preacher regularly using sources he doesn’t understand, for example, from literature. So I know he hasn’t studied or even read the novel he’s citing; he’s just relying on Rob Bell’s or somebody else’s representation of the work, which might not be accurate. I could maybe stand it if, when I hear people praising him, he didn’t just accept their praise for his “brilliant ideas.” Another problem is that, because our preacher hasn’t originated these ideas, he can’t handle any questioning of them, so he shut downs or ignores anyone who doesn’t blindly praise him. I think the church would be better off if we followed I Cor. 14:26 and no one person would have to dazzle anyone every week, and we’d have elders as spiritual leaders rather than managers of a multi-million-dollar budget. And then poor preachers wouldn’t have to listen to people complain. If preachers are so overworked that they can’t do the sermon honestly, that’s something they need to talk to their church about, not cheat. And by the way, I regularly worked 70-hour weeks helping students achieve their dreams, and I did it for $2300 per course. I didn’t slack off just because the load and pay were unfair. I have a choice to not accept those conditions, but, once I do, I’m honor-bound to work “as for God and not for man.” Preachers, you have no idea how bad you look when you make excuses for this, and especially when you act as if you’re the only people who work long hours. Maybe a link from this article to one of the many, many, many “why people are leaving church” articles would be pertinent.

    • David on December 25, 2018 at 9:06 am

      Perhaps the comments are why we need to leave this topic. It is no longer being helpful.

  35. REV Rob on December 5, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Written by someone that clearly has a very differnt expetience of ministry – see how little time you would have in a parish in Scotland – 100 plus sermons to write each year- full preaching and pastoral responsibilities for several parishes,imterim moderator duties as norm, school chaplainces, weekly assemblies in schools, hospital visiting, responsibly for provision of christian funerals on request in a time scale of as little as three days and increasingly for non christians we are free of charge the humanist is not. Then there is church committee-session meetings- presbytery committees – special committees and duties to national church-and an expectation to find new and imagitive ways of worship to keep the flame of fath alive. All without support spiritually or administratively. Humble yourself before God and consider it an honour to help a brother or sister on a frontline , that you may well not have the guts or the fibre to operate on

    • Steven Schnedler on December 5, 2018 at 5:12 pm


  36. Matt on December 4, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    I think the point of the post is to at least give credit to the original speaker if you are going to re-use their content. I agree that is a matter of integrity. Standing up and reading someone else’s sermon without acknowledgement seems dishonest to me.

    • TT Carol on April 11, 2019 at 6:43 am

      Amen! But please, don’t use their jokes and don’t use the original author’s experience as your own. Give credit where credit is due.

  37. Steven Schnedler on December 4, 2018 at 1:58 am

    I wonder if the Apostle Paul would be offended if someone used his sermons? Would he accuse them of being thieves and criminals?

    If God can’t use a sermon a second time in the voice of another who can still give it some originality, then every song sung on Sunday mornings should be original every Sunday and only written by members of each church. Any song used more than once or by another writer outside the church would be a sign of laziness on the part of the worship leader, and he should be fired for dishonesty. Oh yes, he can use someone else’s song once in a blue moon, but not every Sunday. Congregants will quickly pick up on his lack of originality.

    If someone preached a sermon I wrote, and many in Latin America do, I would be honored, not threatened. I could care less about “getting credit”. I care about lost souls and edifying the body of Christ. I am so happy that my messages are actually multiplying in the lives of others, that is the essence of discipleship and what could be better than other preachers multiplying what I teach/preach? When my primary concern is “getting credit”, I forget who the One is who gave me the ability to create in the process. I think it is about ME and MY hard work. In reality, I should be so grateful that God gave me a platform where others actually want to multiply my efforts. If I put 20 hours in to developing a message and others can help me get more mileage out of it, I am ecstatic! My time really paid off! And, I had an opportunity to be blessing to others. Otherwise, I forget I am on the same team fighting the real enemy of our souls. How can I possibly have a true passion for God’s people and purport to care about other pastors when this has become such a major focus?

    While I do agree no one should publish verbatim a document written by others, when my focus has become “me getting credit” and accusing as thieves and criminals, other preachers who honor me by multiplying what God has given me, I have lost focus and my ministry has become a business. Usually, when I read these types of articles, it is by very well-known Christian leaders who feel the profitability of their business is being threatened, but they are savvy in their choice of words. Freely you have received, freely give… unless you’re a famous preacher selling how-to courses. I believe this is truly grieving to the Father.

    • Michael on December 4, 2018 at 8:48 am

      Completely agree Steven! For me, leveraging someone else’s content is a matter of stewardship. It is not so much that I need to be impressive in my communication. It is more about giving my sheep the best food I can find. I pray over the year’s “scope and sequence” so that I know the spiritual journey that I am taking them on and that it is a balanced diet of Old and New Testament, exegetical and topical, etc. Then. I will use other’s series for direction and inspiration. For us, we are not large enough to have an Executive Pastor to tend to our staff, a congregational care pastor to pray and counsel with our members, or a graphics designer to “brand” our content. Yet in a livestream/ right now media age, many in our church want content of the same quality that they perceive from others on the internet. I could put in 20 hours a week in sermon prep but I believe that stewardship of my time means that I invest 8-10 and use the rest to care for our staff and our church. Honestly, my larger concern is that there is a trend in the church for leaders to be more authors and artists than pastors. I wonder if we should take out Proverbs since the writer uses material from ancient literature that pre-dates its writing. Or should we discredit Matthew and Luke because many historians believe they borrowed from Mark’s writing? Of course not! I appreciate you injecting common sense leadership perspective. Blessings my friend!

      • David on December 4, 2018 at 9:06 am

        Good thoughts have been shared in Michael’s post as well in some of other recent ones. The vast majority of us don’t have a research team or ghost writers of multi-staff help. If the mega-church pastors don’t want “their” material used, they need to do their own research and stop using ghost writers.

        • Steven Schnedler on December 5, 2018 at 1:13 am

          Thanks to both Michael and David, both of you had excellent points. I believe that using ghost writers is nothing more than legal plagiarism and totally negates one of the main points of the original article, that each pastor should put in the sweat and tears to earn their own paycheck with an original message, instead of, God forbid, taking advantage of research already done by others, because, of course, if I do it myself, it makes it more valid.

          Of course, I am not going to defend getting up and reading verbatim what someone else preached, but how many do that? Aside from ethical issues, that is not even practical or effective, (but if it were effective and people were blessed, why not give glory to God for that revelation that was extended and used to bless others instead of worrying about getting credit?) However, as to taking the main points of a message and using those to preach an effective message being “unethical”, just blows my mind. How can these extremely gifted preachers not WANT others to use their messages (not verbatim, but outlines of main points) so they get more traction in the lives of God’s church, God’s people, THEIR brothers and sisters?!? Besides, I could not be an Andy Stanley, no matter how I preached his message. I will never be Andy Stanley, or anyone else but me.

          In addition, to suggest that a message can’t be effective unless it is original is nothing more than a myth and actually can be quite prideful. Many original messages aren’t worth the time of the hearer, while many duplicated ones can be very effective. That is nothing more but one more myth to promote the next how-to course.

          When the ministry becomes a business, we forget we all have the same Father. We call ourselves “brothers” and “sisters” but often treat each others like business associates. We sing, “It’s all about You”, when it’s really “All about me and you giving me credit.” Why does a famous preacher care if a No-name preacher gives him credit for his outline or not? What is it? Another feather in his cap, that he won’t even see? Are they really that needy for getting credit from a brother in the Lord? Is all the adulation they get from their “fans” or “business associates” really not enough that they have to make us feel like criminals if we dare use one of their outlines and, woe is me, one of their jokes?

      • AD Hatfield on December 25, 2018 at 3:05 am

        But you’re accepting pay for it. You’re being paid under the expectation by everyone that you’re coming up with your own amazing, unique insights. If you weren’t, and this were only for educational purposes, and you’re weren’t making anything off of it, you would sometimes be within fair-use. It’s that y’all are getting paid that creates a big part of the problem. And you do know that plagiarism is illegal, right?

    • Yvette banda on December 20, 2018 at 6:01 am

      You are 100% correct.God is the giver of every good thing according to the If one found something worthy for the divine kingdom and shares it that person is not wrong.

    • Ejike on January 15, 2019 at 6:32 pm

      God bless you for this response, you just said my mind

      • Steven Schnedler on January 15, 2019 at 6:49 pm

        Amen brother. That is why I stay away from sermons by these types of guys. I don’t want to be tempted to intentionally or accidentally use one of their ideas or outlines and be accused of a crime. There are plenty of great preachers who are honored that their messages are being carried on and multiplied by others, just like Paul taught Timothy in 2 Timothy 2. Blessings!

      • S. Evansi on August 3, 2019 at 6:59 pm

        Nothing is new here on earth…If you are born again why worry about people taking what you think is yours. You will die and the best you have to work out is that your message has saved many souls. Pride is what you are in brother. Release what you have and do what you are doing for the Lord not personal glory…
        The bible has it all. what new would we want to reproduce…nothing….what you call are your messages, it has been preached.
        If we do this work for ourselves then we have no reward. I know that many people dont study the word but if you do study and some take it up and save many souls give glory to God thats God at work. You plant and the other water and our harvest will be great.
        If you dont want your messages to be copied by people, let them not biblical, dont even put them on internet and dont preach them, keep them to yourself. Otherwise i like people copying the messages i preach…they are not mine…

        be a true desciple


        Pastor S. Evans

  38. David on December 2, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    For me, I see No problem whatsoever in using someone else’s ideas. Not verbatim of course. I am a avid reader and as a result, many of these ideas find heir way to one of my sermons. Adrian Rogers, one of the greatest preachers ever, used to say “if the ammo fits your gun, fire it.” In other words use it. Many of the mega church pastors sells their sermons in hopes that they will be used. Some people write with more originality than others. Any great sermon starts in the heart of God and that is a great place to begin. I work to be creative every week, never preach a message ver batim and write my own thoughts. But my thoughts do stem at times from whatever I have read. Friends we are all this together. I buy Pastor Niehwof’s materials and have used them to train our leaders. Any message that chcamges lives does so because God is in it. So I think we need to lighten up in this topic. As far as a blog is concerned, copying it word for word and posting it under your name is just plain wrong. So what is the difference? Putting your name on something and claiming it as yours is plagiarism. Preaching a sermon and using ideas someone has presented it generally acceptable in my opinion. I have seen this post before and believe Carrie should move on to another topic.

    • Michael on December 3, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      I agree David! I’d be curious if the same article would apply to “ghost writers.” John Maxwell has had one for years. I know Furtick has one (he applied for a job at a church I used to work at). If someone gets famous speaking what other people have written, is that not the same principle. Most of what I hear preachers do is not even to that extreme because they don’t directly take credit for it. Or could we say that if the Kingdom is advanced and people find (and grow) in Jesus – none of it really matters. After all, isn’t it just as prideful to say that God can’t use content unless I write it originally. Plagerism is not a biblical concept but one birthed in a greedy culture that needs “paid” for its work.

      • AD Hatfield on December 25, 2018 at 3:07 am

        So you’re not being compensated?

    • Steven Schnedler on December 4, 2018 at 1:59 am

      Agree 100%

  39. Hope Drew on November 9, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you. I am a new pastor of 4 months and I am glad to know there are other pastors that feel the same as I do. Most of my members are millennials and they are very keen to “real.” My being “real” is what continues to draw them back to church Sunday after Sunday.

    Again, thank you.

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  41. Alexandre Luquete on October 30, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Here in Brazil we preach about 150 sermons a year, so it is very difficult to be original. But we do not have to be. In my church it happens a few times a year that I use another preacher’s sermon. And as you said, integrity is everything. Whenever I use someone’s sermon I say who I was based on, if it was a book I take it to the pulpit, show it to the church and I encourage you to read the original, if it was a video of the internet I share the link for everyone.
    If I am not honest in delivering God’s message, what else will I be?

  42. Maureen Fernandes on October 28, 2018 at 8:00 am

    How do I enroll in the online class on how to write sermons.

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  44. greg cleveland on August 13, 2018 at 10:20 am

    So I am guessing that your saying that all the pastors that are using ghost writers are really not telling the truth. Maybe we should be careful in our judgement upon others. After all as one of the greatest men of God that I know said these great words. “When they write better sermons I will preach better sermons.”.
    Just saying that we should be very careful.

  45. Greg Coldewey on June 25, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Having listened to Max Lucado for 30 years at Oak Hills Church, it’s not surprising to hear a “Max” sermon somewhere else. Years ago we attended a church in a different state, and the pastor preached a Max sermon word for word even down to the key illustration which was based on a local thing in San Antonio…but he adapted that part as if it had occurred to him locally. As a hearer, it felt very dishonest. Had he attributed it and preached it it would have been fine. It really was a great sermon, and one of the few I remember to this day. That pastor really destroyed his credibility, which is another danger.

  46. […] This article originally appeared here […]

  47. […] This article originally appeared here. […]

  48. Lee on June 4, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Ha ha ha ha Great Blog post about copying blog posts! May I share this? Oh my! As the great theologian, Bugs Bunny said, “That’s All Folks!” Looks folks there is the Red Herring!

  49. Tony on June 4, 2018 at 8:27 am

    If you have a Word from the Lord, and somebody else takes it and runs with it, what’s wrong with that?
    Do you not want it to reach as many people as possible? If you’re looking for credit and recognition then you’re in it for all the wrong reasons… Maybe you need to rethink this.

    • Tony on June 4, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Look at it this way… somebody taught you. And somebody taught them and so on. Most pastors have around 50 sermons or so that they rehash every year… but a lot of pastors are relating what they have been taught in the past.
      Just teach God’s Word. Pray, ask for wisdom and incite, be open, be authentic and you’ll be ok.

    • Janet Woodlock on June 4, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      If God gives you a word for your community, what makes you think that’s what God wants to say to another community?

      You can only know this through discernment, not by lazy plagiarism. And if it is a word for your community, why not acknowledge it as a matter of your own integrity?

      Academics (rightly) lose their jobs over plagiarism: it’s considered a serious breach of professional ethics. And this should be so for pastors, who have an extra reason to behave ethically – their calling from God.

    • Paul on June 16, 2018 at 11:30 am

      If you preach a sermon verbatim and act like it was your own work, then that is stealing and a lie. Stealing and lying is sin. If you are going to preach other people’s sermons, then you should be honest and step down as preacher. Many lay leaders teach small groups with prepackaged study guides like in Sunday School classes. We generally call these leaders facilitators. At least we know where they get most (if not all) of their material. The pastor of the church and any person who regularly preaches should be studying the Bible and not spending precious time on copying sermons from others.

      • Andrew Johnson on October 13, 2018 at 9:11 pm

        So are you a pastor?

        • Paul on October 28, 2018 at 10:20 am

          I am not a pastor, Andrew. Does being a pastor or simply being a member of the body of Christ matter in this regard? I have been a Sunday School teacher and have led small groups. I have preached a few sermons as a lay leader in the church. When I used material that was written by someone else, I would give them credit. Does it or does it not concern you that a preacher would say “The Lord led me to this message…” when it was actually Google or sermoncentral? Shouldn’t the preacher devote himself to prayer and the study of the word if God?

          • Davis on November 27, 2018 at 5:28 pm

            Remember the message you can preach is not your message. I believe every meeting (service) at church has its purpose and as a Pastor if am found at someones Church I know that it is GODs intention for me to get another information to spread it to others. Yes we have to acknowledge that you got the message according to what you heard but lets not sound as if we generate messages on our own. Its by the Spiriti Of GOD that teaches and Guides us. Moreover we required to spread the Good news. Unless the message is not Good

    • Paul on June 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      If you feel like you cannot preach a sermon that is original, then go to the Bible and read it word for word out loud to your audience. At least you are planting God’s word in the hearts of your congregation, instead of regurgitating other people’s sermons. Check out Jeremiah 23:30 and Romans 2:21. Instead of copying and pasting, I recommend you open your Bibles and diligently study.

    • greg cleveland on August 13, 2018 at 10:22 am

      Thank you for your post. You hit the nail right on the head. (Sorry I guess I should not say that because I know that I have heard that somewhere before.)

    • Danny on December 2, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      I think the point here is not that someone preaches something you don’t get credit for. It’s about the integrity of the person who passes it off as his/her own. As pastors/preachers it is easy go copy someone else’s work and not give credit. It is hard work to come up with your own sermons but the benefits outweigh the work. Shouldn’t we be preaching stuff that we are walking through in our own lives? If someone copies someone else’s outline, perhaps that is more permissable. But when you take illustrations as if they are your own, that is a real integrity issue.

  50. Russ on June 2, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve been reading through these comments and keep thinking, “What in the world am I doing?” My Sunday sermon preparation is so different from what so many of the guys are posting here. I usually put 2-5 hours of straight research into my sermons. I wish it was more, but that’s usually all the time I can afford. Thanks to Logos Bible Software, I use the “Exegetical Guide” to list my commentaries & language sources. I click on the ones I think I’ll like, quickly skim them, and literally drag & drop relevant comments into a Word Document; which automatically footnotes them. After 2-3 hours, I’ve got a 10-20 page document. I print that off and using voice recognition software, I look it over and speak my sermon into a text. Then I reformat it and I preach from my laptop. On the one hand, very few things in my sermon are original to me—when I talk about what fishing is like in the Sea of Galilee, since I’ve never been there, that’s stuff I’m getting from some other source. Even when I dive into application; it’s often stuff I’ve gleaned from books, life, sermons, etc. But when I say “This happened to me when I was 8…” it really happened. To say anything else would be a lie, and how would the Holy Spirit bless a lie? For that matter, isn’t Satan the Father of lies? Twenty years ago, I worked at a megachurch with a pastor most of us would know. I personally looked over his preaching notes many times. True, he was brilliant, but I can tell you he never plagiarized. He’d hand-write his notes and literally bring to the pulpit photocopies of the things he was quoting—and it was obvious he was quoting them because he’d say, “I’ve got a quote…it’s right here…hang on…okay here is it…” And then he’d hold it in his hand, step away from the pulpit, and read it with a force and passion that would honor the original author. I thought we all more-or-less followed a similar process. Now, I see why I’m having problems at my current church. I’ve been in my current church for about 4.5 years. By year 3, we grew to our highest levels on record, but in the last year we’ve had a split. One key leader of the uprising once said to me, “You’re just making stuff up because I’ve been going to church for decades and I’ve never heard anything like this before.” I was baffled because I just preach what the text says—if anything, I spend too much time stating the obvious. But if the American church is accustomed to preachers just recycling what “the showmen” are saying, no wonder people have “never heard this stuff before”—they haven’t heard the Bible! The Holy Spirit illumines HIS Words, not mine and not someone else’s! I’ll admit I’m not nearly as good as the famous preachers, but I’m hoping to improve; and as I get better, I’ll be better in teaching God’s Word, not sermon retreads. No wonder why the American church is in such tatters. Filling churches with preachers who copycat the “showmen” hurts the whole body of Christ because His people are not being taught discernment and it makes the guys who are not airbrushed seem even more irrelevant. Forgive me if I sound self-righteous, I’m really just discouraged by these comments. Maybe I’m a fool playing on a team of fools that would prefer to make themselves look good rather than Christ.

  51. Weekend Leadership Roundup - Hope's Reason on June 2, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    […] 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Preach Other People’s Sermons – Carey Nieuwhof […]

  52. Danelle on June 2, 2018 at 2:27 am

    What if the Holy Spirit gives the same idea to 30 different pastors who have prayed listening to His leading? Maybe not verbatim, but inspiration, theme, or anointing. Who is going to copyright that? The Holy Spirit is the author. Are you going to look to see the first peron in the chain to hear this from the Lord every time? I think many are forgetting the original author. This is a danger, in my view, of building up man and not the One you serve. I am a librarian and believe very much in Open Sources. The Holy Spirit is the most open sourced database anyone could have? Jesus gave you all free material to use and duplicate. He is the Word. Duplicate until the gospel is proclaimed in every tongue, in every nation.

    • Dan on October 13, 2018 at 10:16 pm


  53. Jon Perrin on June 1, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Great article, Carey! I wish more pastors would understand this. It’s not a sin to borrow, but it’s at the very least shady to plagiarize. Unfortunately integrity is becoming a lost art in ministry. And once you’ve lost your credibility, you’ve lost your ability to lead. I tell people that I read and listen to so many great leaders/pastors that I will inevitably borrow the thoughts/ideas of others.

  54. Austin on June 1, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Love it. As an associate pastor who’s serving as interim youth pastor I often work through 3 sermons or lessons per week on the same topic. Original content becomes more and more taxing. Integrity, credit, and Holy Spirit are so important. Thanks for the post Carey.

  55. Kelly on June 1, 2018 at 7:32 am

    The more I think about this, the more this question keeps coming back up into my mind. I was a worship pastor for over 20+ years and have only been a senior pastor for the last 6. Not one time during my time as a worship pastor did I ever before singing a song give credit to the writer of the lyrics or the music. And we would do original songs every now and then but for the most part they were songs that someone else had written under God’s inspiration. Even at conferences now I hear a popular worship leader song someone else’s song without giving credit but not once have I ever felt angry or cheated that they’d sing someone else’s song. Again, I don’t copy messages word for word and I do give credit where credit is due, but this just gave me something to think about.

    • Janet Woodlock on June 4, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Everyone expects you’ll be singing the songs of others don’t they? That’s why churches buy song licences. That’s not an integrity issue… unless you’ve ever said “this is a song I’ve written” about someone else’s material.

      NO ONE expects their pastor to be preaching someone else’s sermon though. So that’s a clear integrity issue.

      • Kelly on June 5, 2018 at 7:47 am

        Everyone expects you’ll be singing the songs of others? I hope they simply expect you to lead them into God’s presence. As far as the licensing – all/most church don’t pay for the CCLI. I just came back from a conference where worship was a major part of it and one of the worship leaders announced they were going to do a new song. I loved the song and try to look it up – I found it and the worship leader that lead it was not one of the writers of that song. I didn’t bother me in the least bit because all I was expecting of him was to lead me into God’s presence. I wasn’t expecting it all be original, just for Him to do his best to hear from God and lead us there.

        Do I think it’s a problem for someone to take an entire message word for word, story for story and not give credit? Absolutely. But, I personally don’t think there is anything wrong from hearing a preacher preach a word and it speak to you so much that God has you share with others that would never hear it otherwise. That’s not an integrity issue – it’s just a matter of hearing from God or not.

        • Michael Bulkley on June 5, 2018 at 1:40 pm

          “As far as the licensing – all/most church don’t pay for the CCLI.” That is an awfully broad statement to make. Maybe there are a number of small churches, or churches without live streaming, or web available broadcast that do not, but any church who puts there services online is risking big fines if they do not pay CCLI. Further, whether you broadcast or not it is illegal to play music in your church in any other context than the actual church service unless you pay CCLI fees (this includes VBS, church coffee shop, music in the lobby, music on your telephone hold, etc.). Now, one can decide to ignore that and likely if they are a smaller church with no outside broadcast and they will not be caught, but if their choice is to “not get caught” (no matter how one justifies it) it is still illegal and thus a lack of integrity. I do not like to pay my taxes and I think that much of my tax money goes to pay for immoral things but Jesus still said I had to pay to Caesar what was Caesar’s. All that being said, I do not know any churches around me that DON’T pay CCLI.

  56. Mlungisi Gabriel Magwaza on June 1, 2018 at 7:07 am

    Thanks Carey, I hope there is no problem to quote someones sentences and mention that to congregation.

    Question: How can I help someone who is in the same problem of preaching others’ sermons. We have a same fellow in our church.

  57. Deb Angerman on June 1, 2018 at 6:51 am

    I just finished an undergrad college course on speaking to youth, and one of the materials we were required to read actually recommended NOT sourcing “borrowed” material in our sermons, because it “interferred with the flow of the message.” WHATTT? I couldn’t believe it.

    My motto is borrow away – but ALWAYS give credit!

  58. Jeremy on May 31, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    As someone accused of plagiarizing even when citing the source I do see how important this is to people. Legit question though…when compiling all of the research for detailed topics it’s almost impossible to cite everything. For one intro to a message I used multiple sources. They weren’t other people’s messages but certainly books/articles. Didn’t quote directly. So what do you suggest? Or is that a different topic?

    • Carey Nieuwhof on June 1, 2018 at 5:09 am

      Good question…and I’m sorry you were questioned. Tough! You’re right, there are really no truly original thoughts. So attribute the major ones…be generous and humble with your sourcing and that should cover it. It can be as simple as “As Tim Keller has said” or “Andy Stanley points out..” That’s what I do.

    • AD Hatfield on December 25, 2018 at 3:12 am

      Let people know up front that you consulted several sources, and that they can find a list of those somewhere, perhaps in a text version of your sermon with the citations, or, at the very least, tag concepts, e.g., “on the idea of xyz, see . . . ” and cite the sources.

  59. Campbell on May 31, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    I now include a “bibliography/sources used” in my sermon handout.

    15+ Years ago I attended a church planting conference at Saddleback. Rick Warren came in & spoke to the planters & told us, “You can use any of my information. No citing is necessary.” I thought that was great. Of course being the son of an English teacher, and the grandson of an English teacher, and having taught high school English myself, I wasn’t comfortable with taking that at face value. So I would use verbal citations for his or other authors thoughts, ideas, quotes, etc.

    A few years ago I realized that there are times where I quote someone but in the process I may forget to cite them, or may misattribute the quote. Then another pastor in my area was accused of using someone else’s material and passing it off as his own. I cannot recall at this time where I saw the idea to include a “Sources Used” reference as part of my sermon handout, but made the commitment at that time that I would try to include as full a list of sources for any particular sermon. So at the end of my sermon notes, I have a Bibliography.

    If I use another pastor’s outline of a series, even if I am not using any part of his messages, I include that in my source citation. If I use some personal Bible Study books (such as The Navigators LifeChange series) when breaking down a passage, I cite it in the notes. I don’t do this to be lazy, or just to make sure I am covered. I do this because I want my people to have good sources they can go to as well.

    • Captain Kevin on December 2, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      Campbell, that’s a great idea!

  60. Russ Baley on May 31, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    I just finished sharing this with my team. For years I have been railing against use of other pastors sermons. ‘Where was the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the copy and pasting of the sermon from Andy Stanley?’ With regards to point number 5. I know of a former pastor who constantly justified his plagiarism of Craig Groeshel and Louie Giglio. Yes even right down to the personal stories about family members including wives. When people approached me about it I talked to another local pastor who was my coach. We approached him and he rebuffed our loving attempt to correct his behavior. His reasoning was the Spirit can work through the any preacher because the Word was from God and he like the pastors he plagiarized were mouthpieces for God. Unfortunately he continued, his church leaders were okay with it. With regard to leading to other things creeping in. This pastor is now in jail for some not so good things. I will always strive to correctly represent myself because our integrity is the only thing man cannot take from us…we have to give it away.

  61. D. A. Taylor on May 31, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    About five years ago, there were several web sites where pastors could purchase sermon outlines with complete references. Being curious, I looked at the Google Adword data and found that these site owners were paying up to $5.00 per click — which meant they were making LOTS and LOTS of money. Of course, this web site and it’s associated activity only confirmed what I had see throughout 50 years of attending Christian churches and observing how most preachers only work 2-3 days a week. One particular pastors stands out in my memory. When the brethren called this guy during certain morning hours on weekdays, his wife would inform the caller “the Pastor is taking his nap.” Of course, this is what church members deserve when they ignore Christ’s instructions in Matthew 23:8-10.

    • David Nuhfer on May 31, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      You must have attended a lot of churches if, as you say, “most preachers only work 2-3 days a week”. As a pastor, I find your assumption 3 things – (1) Presumptuous, (2) Arrogant and, (3) Ignorant. Perhaps you should spend more time working on being a little more truthful and a lot less self-righteous.

  62. Chris Teien on May 31, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    I’ve preached over 900 sermons so far over my 22 years in full time ministry and they rarely have ever been 100% “original” and I think that with all the resources available to us there is no excuse for a bad sermon on Sunday mornings. Before the internet pastors used printed Bible commentaries and books for their sermons and today we have a ton of ministry sites giving or selling sermon series complete with graphics and outlines (like and I think that if a pastor finds a series or outline or concept that is what their congregation needs they should adapt it to fit their ministry and people. I too have watched people preach another’s sermon and claim the experience illustration as their own and I think that is crossing the line but using another persons outline or sermon points – especially if they gave it or sold it to you should be ok. Not every chef/cook is making all the food from scratch – sometimes they grabbed the canned stuff to more efficiently feed more people. I used to attend a megachurch where the nationally recognized and admired Senior Pastor had a full time staff person that did a lot of his sermon research. Even more scandalous then a pastor using other peoples sermon ideas is the pastor that spends 75% of his time in his study working on his sermon each week.

    • Robert Neiman on April 11, 2019 at 12:13 am

      A pastor spending 75 percent of his time in his study working on his sermon is the more biblical model than a one hour cut and paste job by a pastor stealing someone else’s sermon. How can spending more time on a sermon be scandalous? Especially if that pastor has a calling to spend that amount of time in study.

      • Ian on April 11, 2019 at 12:56 am

        I think any pastor who spends 75% of his time working on a sermon is neglecting the rest of his job or he is fortunate enough to work in a church with a large amount of staff. It would be impossible for me to spend that much time on my sermon. I’m lucky if I get 10 hours a week. I understand intellectual property and plagerism but nothing is new under the son. The new commentaries are other pastors sermons. I don’t have the luxury of a research assistant like some pastors have so I use other sermons to help guide me as I study. I use my own illustrations, own context, and most of the time even my own study on the text but I’ve used other people’s points and even used there bottom line. It would almost be impossible to preach something new. Also, why do we feel this need to reinvent the wheel? If something Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Levi Lusko, or Carey says speaks to me and is God speaking to me through them, why can’t I use that to share with my congregation? Why is that message only for the people in Georgia, Canada, Montana, or wherever? God just might have wanted me to hear so I could tell my people too.

  63. Joe Gunter on May 31, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Right on Carey! I find it very aggravating in my circle the amount of re-preaches I hears. Even worse, leaders don’t want to communicate where the received the content from. The truth is many people in the congregation don’t follow what’s being preached by “Big Name” leaders and are un able to identify when it happens. Unfortunately, I feel this way of preaching is becoming standard in today’s church culture. Not too ago a church member came to me excited saying how awesome the message someone preached was and ask I had ever heard that before and I said, “actually yes I have.” No credit or reference given to the original writer but preached well!

  64. Michael Bulkley on May 31, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    I have read all the comments so far posted and I was fascinated with some of the thoughts presented. In short my takeaway from Carey is not that it is wrong to re-preach someone else’s message, it is just wrong to present them as your own. I have had moments where I read someone’s sermon or blog and immediately realized that God was answering my prayer for how to speak with my congregation about something. I then told the people that very point, “I was wrestling with this and I read/heard this perspective and I believe God is saying it us as well as to the original author’s audience.” I also know that there is intentional plagarism (frankly I did not realize it was as widespread as Carey has alluded) and unintentional. I remember having a conversation with Phil Driscoll and he told me how he almost never listened to anyone else’s music when he was writing his music as he did not even want the chance of accidentally copying a riff. I thought that was extreme but for him it kept him so devoted/dependent on the Holy Spirit to lead him in writing his music. I do not in any way suggest that we not ever listen to or read other’s sermons or books (very much to the contrary) but I do think we should maintain that attitude of caution as it keeps us dependent on the Holy Spirit for inspiration. As for those who are bi-vocational, I feel your pain very much. I just know that the best messages I have given have often come from moments of my greatest pain and thus often when there was little time to prepare the way I would like. I also have a church dynamic where I am often called to cover the pulpit with little or no notice. Thus much of my sermon material comes from my journals and personal devotional/study time. Just my thoughts.

    • Mike McGuire on May 31, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      “Thus much of my sermon material comes from my journals and personal devotional/study time. Just my thoughts.”

      This is a good point. I too am bi-vocational. Bible study and journaling should be more than just to find material to preach, but it often becomes a good source. Just a few weeks ago I was reading a devotional magazine, and the focal verse was Hebrews 11:7. That struck me as a good passage for a biblical sermon warning against coming judgment. I was out of the country on a mission trip and it became a sermon while I was preaching there in a crusade.

      As for other comments above, I often use quotes from others as illustrations. I always say something like I read this in a book by John MacArthur, or I saw this in a clip on YouTube, Or I heard this in a news clip on CNN or something like that. Somewhere in this thread the comment was made that when you quote people and give them credit, you come across as being more prepared and intelligent.

  65. Jeff Courter on May 31, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    The lowest grade I received in seminary was in my preaching class, where I made the comment, “If I want to give the best sermon to my congregation, I will go online, download it, and show it to my congregation!” My professor did not appreciate that comment, but I still stand by it – I will probably never be the best preacher in America, and the best sermon most likely will not be mine.

    We Protestants are so focused on the sermon, we have forgotten that worship is about the whole service, not the sermon! The sermon is a part of an entire event focused on directing our attention to God, and glorifying him. The Protestant Reformation came at a time when most people could neither read nor write, and most could not afford to purchase a Bible – reading scripture and explaining it was essential for transmitting the Gospel. (This is part of the reason public education became important to most Protestant denominations, BTW.) Today, neither of these is the case, and most people can find meaningful explanations of the Bible online, in the comfort of their room of choice.

    So why preach? A good question – if we aren’t asking that very question, we risk becoming anachronisms ourselves. If we see the sermon as a part of a larger goal, the worship of God, then the sermon becomes less the reason people should attend. People should attend to worship, not simply to listen to us preach. To think of my sermon too highly is hubris. As the Buddhist saying goes, “The finger pointing to the moon is not the moon.” At my very best, in my very best sermon, I am merely pointing a finger at the Divine.

    • Captain Kevin on December 2, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      Jeff Courter, Amen! You expressed something I’ve been mulling on for a while, that the sermon is part of the whole worship experience. Regarding your seminary experience, I once heard a sermon by Chuck Swindoll that was both so convicting and so inspiring that I thought, if I were pastoring right now, I would simply share the video with my congregation, and preface it by saying that I was so touched by this teaching that I want you to experience it too.

  66. Paul S on May 31, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Carey

    Great article but what advice you would give to a young bivocational pastor with a young family and only 4-6 hours to build a sermon?

    You can understand why it can be tempting to lean on other people’s messages for inspiration and direction in this context. Especially when there are those resources available from and others.

    • Michael Bulkley on June 5, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      Hey Paul,
      I know I am not Carey but if I were to guess, or at least give you my two cents after 22 years much in your shoes, I would say freely use the resources available but just don’t hide it. Further, I would say that often in my reading other sermons or resources they spark an idea or answer a question about a text I am studying which, while spurred by my reading, is my own thought or my own way of describing the point. The Holy Spirit can work that way. But the problem is when you cut and paste a sermon, or parts of it and present it as your own where it gets muddy. I remember a time I told a guest speaker how impacted I was by a point he made and that I would be preaching it again. He said, the first time give me credit and after that it is yours, but always remember it ultimately came from God. One last thing I would offer is that I use Logos Bible software. It is expensive up front (I have been building my digital library for 14 years) but it helps me cut so much time in studying as it helps me get right to the point and gives me many differing perspectives on a text all in one place. Hopefully your church could purchase it for you if you personally do not have the budget. God bless you in your endeavors my friend!

  67. Stephen Hamilton on May 31, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Hey Carey, this is excellent and very timely. It’s critical for all communicators to be men and women of integrity. Just give credit where it is due. We need to increase our time with God and in preparation to increase our effectiveness.

    • Kel on May 31, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      I often share words of wisdom I’ve learned, whether from my own children, grandchildren, friends, or pastors. I always give credit, but withhold names if it’s a minor. I add my own take on it, share how it impacted my walk with Christ. I would never just peach a whole sermon mimiking another. I wouldn’t feel good at all about that, regardless of how profound the message would be. I need to sleep at night knowing I’m right with the Lord. I think using quotes is fine, but plagiarism is just not okay. When we quote the Bible, we should always reference the chapter and verse. It would frighten me to think that anyone might have enough trust in me to just take it for granted. I’m not worthy, nor am I worthy of another’s words. I always carry bibles to share, so that those who hunger can find truth in those pages.

  68. Danny Legault on May 31, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    I do appreciate the thrust of this article and I don’t have any criticisms of the various points. However, there is something very refreshing about Mike Bickle’s (International House of Prayer) approach. He again and again emphasizes that his copy right policy is the right to copy. His passion to get the message out far exceeds any need to get the credit.

  69. Mike McGuire on May 31, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I used to be a High School teacher. We do not expect high school teachers to write their own books every day for lesson plans, however we do expect that they will put their own spin on it, in a good way. years ago while I was in seminary, the pastor I grew up under had written a book. I bought a copy of it. When I was a you, the youth minister taught us to take sermon notes. I kept weekly notes in that church from 1973 until I moved away from home in 1980. From then I kept notes until I became a pastor in 1989 (Now I have my own notes) Anyway, going back to the book. There was a particular illustration that my pastor had used from the pulpit. He was telling a third person story about a little boy who skipped school one day. He elaborated on the story ( I forgot what exactly happened) and the surprise ending of the story was, “And that little boy was me!” That sermon was included in his book.

    Years later while in seminary, I was the youth minister. I saw a copy of that book on my pastor’s desk. (Not the author of the book.) That pastor began to tell that same story in a sermon, and at the end he said, “And that little boy was me!” At that point, I lost all respect for that pastor. As this article said, he could have given credit to the author of the book, but he didn’t. As I began to pay more attention, he was ripping off other pastors virtually every sermon. He would get a newsletter from a church. Copy the outline of the sermon in his own handwriting and then give it to the church secretary to type. Then he would preach it on Sunday as his own. He could have saved a lot of time and effort if he had just taken the newsletter to the pulpit.

  70. David on May 31, 2018 at 11:12 am

    I simply do not agree with this post. We have used a video series of yours to train our people in leadership. I read sermons and listen to sermons frequently. When I quote Sources I do foot note these in my sermon notes. Sometimes I do preach other individuals sermons. …. not verbatim …. I add and subtract and make changes but I definitely use other peoples ideas. I like what Dr. Adrian Rogers said many years ago about this, if the bullet fits your gun, use it. Pastors have many things to accomplish every week and most of us speak 2 to 3 times a week. It is hard to be original every week.

  71. Paul on May 31, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Hi Carey

    This is an awesome article and I agree with it all but as a young bivocational pastor I have a question.

    Many friends of mine who are full time pastors have encouraged me to get inspiration from other messages, saying that I should prayerfully listen and read the manuscripts etc. and then personalize it. When you’re trying to turn a church around, working 40 hours and raising a young family you can understand why this seems appealing. In fact the likes of Craig Groeschel even encourage it

    Do you think that it is acceptable for a bivocational pastor to lean more heavily on other pastors messages given their context?

  72. Derrell Brame on May 31, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Not sure I agree with all the points made. It is true, some of have so many other responsibilities other than preaching. When I listen to other sermons, I am always in sermon mode to gather ideas and the best way to express thoughts. Rick Warren used to say, “There is nothing original. The secret to good preaching is hiding your sources” (or something like that). For me, if there is a good sermon that has touched my life, I want to share that same idea. I will rework the words and outline to make it me, then preach it! I remember sharing Max Lucado’s 100 Happy People series. I called Oak Hills and they gladly shared much of the media with me to use. I gave credit, but used Max’s sermon ideas in the series. I guess, if you are using the sermons word for word, you are just memorizing a script, and that would be plagiarism! But if you take the text, idea, and work through all the thoughts as you allow the Holy Spirit to lead, not sure how that is wrong! Anyway, we all are individuals and have to be honest before the Lord and our church board…thanks for the thought provoking article!

    • David on May 31, 2018 at 11:03 am

      I agree

    • AD Hatfield on December 25, 2018 at 3:25 am

      So when one of my students turns in a pieced-together, unattributed work, I’ll be sure to ask if the Holy Spirit has inspired it before I fail him/her from the course and notify the dean. Too many preachers are deeply out of touch with reality, and this is why we’re losing people in droves.

  73. Cecil Cogswell on May 31, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Well spoken Carey. As I read this thought comes to mind, “where you start you usually finish.” This is my own thought, but I am sure someone else has thought it before (protecting myself here). Having spent over 30 years in ministry and sermon prep I have learned that you MUST spend time reading God’s Word in order to received the message that God wants delivered to His people. My time was before the heavens opened and everyones’ thoughts and writings became available online. I would caution that if a preacher does not start in the Word, he will not finish in the Word. Holy Spirit inspiration comes through the Word not the words of other people. Proclamation/preaching is not about parroting someone else, it is about allowing God to speak through us as His instruments. We should never go online first seeking inspiration! The pit is way too deep and sermons prepared by the most godly men are just man’s words which makes us think we sound sound smarter, not be smarter. Surf away after the sermon is mostly finished seeking a better way to say things, or great applications, but resist the temptation to start online.

  74. Sheila McJilton on May 31, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Having had my own work plagiarized, I am sensitive to this issue. I work very hard on my sermons, and I begin on Monday morning, using a book entitled FOUR PAGES OF THE SERMON by Paul Scott Wilson to guide my (creative) thinking and discernment about which text. (NB: I am an Episcopal priest, so am in a liturgical tradition that gives me four choices of Holy Scripture: OT, Psalm, NT & Gospel). Occasionally I go back to one of MY old sermons and use the bones of that, but almost never go back to that sermon entirely, because the context is different. Yes, I almost always preach from text on an I-Pad, but the I-Pad seemed to free me up in a strange way from text on paper. I would never use someone else’s work without crediting them, and I do use quotes of sources.

  75. Luke on May 31, 2018 at 10:25 am

    is it the same thing when there is a team of pastors and one pastor wrote the sermon series but everyone is responsible for preaching it?

  76. Ian on May 31, 2018 at 10:22 am

    I am challenged by this. I am struggling with the idea of not using someone else’s sermons. What about things like Orange curriculum for student and children’s pastors? If I had to write all the content that I need in a given year between preaching with students, leading events, and preaching on Sunday throughout the year, I would never be able to do of the other ministry work I need to do. I use so many sermons from other pastors and great preachers more like commentaries. I trust that guys like Andy Stanley, Steven Furtick, Levi Lusko, and yourself are far smarter than I am and have done countless more hours of research than I can do. I always try to give credit and rarely if ever have I used a sermon word for word. However, I have used sections, application points, or breakdowns of a scripture from other pastors. I am unsure where to draw the line… What is right or wrong here? I struggle to see a difference between using orange curriculum and using someone else’s sermon content, so long as you contextualize it for your people and use your own stories or illustrations.

    • AD Hatfield on December 25, 2018 at 3:27 am

      Trusting that others are far smarter is exactly why you need to cite — if you’re not going to aggressively question and check their work before passing it on, well, this is how a lot of bad information goes flying around the world in no time. If you’re going to “trust,” you’d absolutely better cite.

    • Mark Del Papa on May 19, 2019 at 10:03 am

      Good topic. I find it interesting that Christians who have revelation from from a ” power that is able to separate the very divine of our spill..” The marrow from the bone.. are so concerned about copywriter infringement. Maybe the Holy Spirit is ruled that you are so concerned about calling what another author has inspired in you. The author and finisher of our faith. You mention someone using ” your jokes” verbatim . Come on know!” The messages are not as personal as you say they aware. Maybe they are smart by using your messages. Because they aren’t ready to preach from experience. The biggest lie is that five fold ministers are so concerned about copywriter infringement as if notoriety is their big concern. Ha ha. We should name our sources. Teach people to learn from how you delineate personal experience from bible truth. The reason others are not courageous to this is because the teaching they receive reflects narcissism and one upmanship. Just like all the people who took of songs and lyrics in a secular setting. That’s also why expository preaching is the answer to men making stories about their lives, ” one day my wife and I were flying a kite” not enough Pastors and congregations are making disciples. This article is indicative of the selfish ambition pres hers have as if this blog was expressing something spiritual. You say. My team? My? My ? Your team. What? You have a team.that your not on? And why? They search the web giving cease and d’s is notices? Wow! We are on the same team sir. Your words are so packed with a lack of the character that the mind of Christ has.

      Jesus might sue you for preaching Parables. Imitating Christ is the highest form of flattery. Don’t flatter yourself by pretending your Waldo Emerson or some wanna be Rock Star preacher. If someone is using your ideas..( ideas) then they are not God’s public domain. I bet you do not see the most important thing. The most important thing isn’t your spin. metaphors or ” so called” creative influence over something that is suppose to move in the supernatural for. the edification of those who hear. Romans 10:17. This whole vain argument sounds like a passive aggressive attempt to bolster your pension for being the center of the topic. A writer so profound that the people wanting to preach it are not doing God’s will even as they are claiming authorship to words and subject matter that they did not author. But then again.

      If we are going to boast? Boast in the Lord.
      Whatever is good? Maybe you need a time out preacher man. You should have a team that is part by the Spirit enough to realize the cause and effect of doing anything in the flesh. Let me know when your preaching at Dodger Stadium telling jokes. Oops. Maybe Greg Laurie will claim that using jokes is his intellectual property designed to deflect the truth of the two edged sword and put the attention on him as the comedian. I mean, Christian comedians are at a premium. Knock , knock? ..who’s there? Its Jesus. Stop knocking people, ask the right questions of God seek him diligently and then you’ll be at the door that brings him glory by a humility that doesn’t need a team of man pleases to see the obvious. If someone steals your jokes? Give them your sermon. Let God deal with it. For even if an angel.preached another Gospel every curse known in this book would be upon him. Leading isn’t being out front It’s allowing Jesus to mirror from the things that are most important..

      ” go and find out what this means.. “I desire mercy not sacrifice”

      You sound like the schoolmates in finding Forrester.
      There’s always a William that will see someone else’s pen in all of our writings. Hopefully God. His word is written in our heart.. Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeded from the Fathers mouth..So; if God isn’t the one getting the credit? Your just trickier than those who may just need a little affirmation. Since he knows the intentions of every heart.. God bless you, keep preaching the word. The gospel to all nations and make disciples out of men. Not a team of crack intellectual property protectors..


      My feet are dirty

      • Lt Zandile on May 21, 2019 at 9:55 pm

        The book of Jeremiah talks a lot about this issue, our messages should come from The Holy Spirit, reference what the Lord did not speak directly to you. GOD HAS A FRESH WORD FOR EVERY AUDIENCE.

  77. Heartspeak on May 31, 2018 at 10:12 am

    I read a blog post like this and sadly shake my head and cry, “Dear God, rescue your people!” Churches are dying. (Note: the Church, is not dying) Stubborn people. Unrepentant hirelings. An unhealthy commitment to 3 songs and a talk as the ‘only’ way to do God’s work. NO focus on actually doing what it takes to make disciples who make disciples under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

    It’s time and past time to really look at what are we doing and what are the results. Jesus said that by their fruit you will know them. Most ‘fruit’ of what churches are doing is inedible.

    God does His work in the lives of those who seek Him but that does not mean that what we are doing is right, good or best. It means that God is faithful to those who genuinely seek Him.

    Sorry. Not sorry. Just nauseous…..

  78. David Nuhfer on May 31, 2018 at 9:43 am

    This has always been an issue of great contention, because the question is always “What does it mean that a pastor used someone else’s material without giving them credit?” Too much to share in one post, so I’ll try to make it brief (or as brief as a pastor who has been doing this for almost 30 years can be.) In this world of multiple “sermon help” websites and organizations that offer their sermons for sale for other pastors to use, the idea of plagiarism has become increasingly muddied. I remember reading one famous pastor saying that buying a sermon series from his organization is a help because “why should you have to do all the research yourself that we have already done and made available to you to use?” I have purchased many message series and sermon books and I have used them in my ministry. I have gone through the essence of them, made changes, added personal illustration, selected different scriptures at some points and even changed some of the main points. I have found them helpful in preaching and saw them help change lives for the better. I have never claimed that they were my personal creation, nor have I ever tried to sell them. At times, I have said that the message was inspired by thoughts of a specific preacher, but you simply cannot spend sermon time giving credit to every person from whom you get a thought. Sometimes, I wonder, “Where did THEY get that idea?” I have used illustrations from other pastors experiences, starting with, “(NAME OF PASTOR) tells a story about . . .” The truth is, many pastors of larger churches have staff & researchers helping them find and put together their messages. Most of us don’t have that luxury. In addition to sermon prep, we are busy visiting the sick, the new guest & the family in crisis, meeting with boards, trying to be visible in the community, changing light bulbs, mowing the church lawn, etc. I think a lot that might be called plagiarism is not plagiarism. Perhaps we had better give less credit to the people writing the words on paper and more credit to the Spirit that does the inspiring. We also need to be careful who we accuse of plagiarism. A statement I once heard is true when it comes to preaching – Anything any of us preach is not original. It has all be preached before in some way and we all get our content from somewhere that is not original to us, whether it is from the Holy Spirit or someone else. With the exception of someone intentionally taking someone else’s message and passing it off as his/her own, “plagiarism” is in the eye of the beholder. I hope this is helpful.

    • S. Evansi on August 3, 2019 at 7:18 pm

      If people speak of plagiarism on the Gospel then they have to read the four gospels and comment about plagiarism. For those writers copied each other for the word to reach all. When you hear someone preaching you idea, you must give Glory for the confirmation, whether copied or stolen the important fact is let it reach someone and get saved.
      Those who are commenting against messages pirating are those who are enriching themselves with the word of God. Let the good news be pirated and multiplied till it reach to the end of the world….

  79. Andrew Minard on May 31, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Great point about being real and how people resonate with that.

  80. Lois Holliday on May 31, 2018 at 9:33 am

    David Jeremiah (YEARS ago) did a sermon that involved Marines, San Diego, Hell Week. A very good message that I listened to on the way to work and the way home from work. Same day – BBN had him on 2x a day. Next Wednesday night, pastor’s son did the message and it was Jeremiah’s message, word for word. While everyone around me was spellbound, I couldn’t help having an attitude that bordered on contempt. Sorry. Not right. Not good. But that’s just how I reacted to his blatant, misleading behavior.

  81. Kelly on May 31, 2018 at 9:26 am

    I get what Carey is saying completely, but if I hear an idea that I didn’t personally think of, I’ll take it and run with it because I agree, I don’t think we are as original thinkers as we’d like to think we are. I may also hear a message and that message gives me a different idea to take it in a different direction. I personally believe that just as God can speak to you through someone else’s teaching – God can use that speaker to speak to you to deliver ideas from that message to people that would never have heard it otherwise.
    I don’t steal messages word for word, and I do give credit when I use someone’s idea, but I am not as creative as I would like to be when it comes to preparing a message or series and I think there are a lot of others like me that feel the same way, although it may not get said on this platform. Those are just my thoughts.

    • David on May 31, 2018 at 9:38 am

      I agree with you. I think there is a difference between inspiration and laziness. I too have been inspired by other messages but would use that to write my own sermon and not use someone else’s. If God wants a message out I believe this is one of His many ways of doing that.

  82. Jonathan Lowery on May 31, 2018 at 9:25 am

    This article reminds me of how I really need to lift my Pastor in prayer and ask God’s power to be on his life. As worship leader, I don’t have to prepare a sermon every week so I can’t imagine the weight of such a huge task. My prayer is that I will always share out of a heart that’s been with God when I lead worship. I read more and more as I get older to learn from those smarter than myself. God uses those things to refine me and I share that as I lead worship. I also often share books and authors with my team so that they can be impacted in the same way by great books, DVD’s and online teaching. Thanks for sharing and stirring my heart to pray more for my Pastor as he prepares each week.

  83. Daryl J DeKlerk on May 31, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Well said to lean into the Holy Spirit each week! Love the line, “The real power in preaching comes not from our words, but from what God does with our words.” Praise God!

  84. John Spohn on May 31, 2018 at 9:24 am

    In every sermon I have placed a personal family illustration. I have visited some congregations where my family illustration was used as though it were the speaker’s personal life. It would have been so much easier to say “I heard ” or “I read.”

  85. Rachelle M on May 31, 2018 at 9:23 am

    This recently happened at my church, where our new pastor plagiarized his whole first sermon series, and continues to use free sermons presenting them as his own.

    Pastors should be led by the Spirit about what to preach and to do so with integrity.

    I have been wrestling with whether or not we should stay at our church. The board looked into the issue, but it has since been dropped. I am afraid I am not growing. I love our church, and don’t want to leave.

    Any advice?

    • George on June 1, 2018 at 6:08 am

      stick with the church for the time being and then see how you feel. The church is not just the pastor, it is the people and you will have established relationships there which you need to consider.

      • Rachelle on June 26, 2018 at 11:54 am

        The people at my church and the relationships I have are the only thing keeping me there. I don’t want to leave.

        Any advice on how to address the church or pastor with this issue?

        He has lost all credibility and respect from me.

    • Janet Woodlock on June 4, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      Pass this article on to the Board? And express your deep concerns?

      The church leadership should deal with integrity issues, and this is an integrity issue.

      • Rachelle on July 19, 2018 at 10:43 am

        This is the action I have decided to take. Thank you, Janet!

  86. Charles F Norris on May 31, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Excellent points, Carey! I appreciate your valuable insight. Please keep up the good work! Charles

  87. David on May 31, 2018 at 9:19 am

    This is a good article. I use quotes a lot whether I am preaching to the congregation or teaching the youth. Sometimes someone can say my thoughts better than I can so I use it… and give them credit. The best part of sermon writing is having so much that it needs to be pruned so that all is left is the good stuff. 🙂 As a pastors, speakers, teachers, and leaders we must check our ego at the door. We follow (Heb 13:7), serve (Matt 20:25-28), live above reproach (1 Tim 3:1-3), and live like Jesus (John 13:13-15) in all that we do.

    Let’s continue to build each other up, inspire each other, and through the power of the Holy Spirit help build the Kingdom of God.

  88. Eric on May 31, 2018 at 9:17 am

    I’ve purchase sermon series in the past and given credit where credit is due. I have consistently found that it feels un-natural to preach someone else’s words and ideas. It just doesn’t flow, and it doesn’t connect as well as when I preach messages I have written.

  89. Mike on May 31, 2018 at 7:57 am

    1. Eliminates silliness of “how to have you best life now”.
    2. Causes pastors like Carey to stop eisegeting texts
    3. Eliminates a sense of self righteousness.
    4. Deals directly with sin, repentance, forgiveness from God himself.
    5. Helps pastors like Carey stop delivering sermons without the text even open and giving his almighty interpretation of life. This saves no one. This points no one to Christ but rather to Carey as he would have it that way.

    • Jeremy Mahood on May 31, 2018 at 9:22 am

      Hey Mike, you may disagree with Carey and at time I do as well. However, I’m not sure the attitude of the way in which you expressed yourself is healthy! How about you post the number of salvations and baptisms and those serving in ministry and compare them to what’s happening where Carey preaches. I’m not talking about attendance or crowds…just salvations, baptism and serving. And then you can be as critical as you would like.

      • AD Hatfield on December 25, 2018 at 3:49 am

        Agree his comment isn’t very nice, but neither is your reply, even though it’s dripping with false kindness, which is worse than the open scorn. And you are assuming that only people who are paid to stand in front of audiences are helping bring people to salvation. You assumed the author had not met any of your criteria, and you have no idea. If he had listed “his” work– really? How disgusting to imagine someone’s doing that. Even if he had not, only a deeply insecure person plays that card. A truly seeking minister, leader or mature person is willing to hear really hard things (maybe not enjoy them!). God often uses the least likely to bring up sharp truths to his people. This is why people are leaving. They can’t speak truths without being sugar-shamed by ministers.

    • Scotty Jarrard on May 31, 2018 at 7:20 pm

      Hey Mike,
      Exegesis Matthew 18:15-20 and tell us how you could of handled this differently.

      Love you brother, I really do.

      • DJ Dangerfield on December 3, 2018 at 10:09 am

        I can see using someone talking points but preaching someone’s sermon verbatim is really difficult I can’t even do my own sermons again verbatim!

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