Are You Stealing Your Sermons?

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A better question would be, should you share your source material? This is the far more helpful question and it's one that doesn't seem to have a concrete answer. You've got to preach week after week and that work is inspired by something. Granted, most will say scripture is your ultimate source material and I'm not arguing with that. I'm talking about the book you've been reading. You know, the one you've found completely inspiring. It's not long before your 5 favorite chapters become your next 5 week teaching series. And we secretly hope no one in our audience reads said book....cause that would be awkward. 

What about that inspiring podcast you've been listening to? Has Craig Groschell or Andy Stanley got your wheels turning? Have you thought about how your church needs to hear that message right now? 

We know that there is nothing new in this world (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and that at it's core everything does come from scripture, but how should you deal with sharing your source of inspiration? 

If you use a service like Open.lifechurch.tv, you may have noticed that they specifically prefer that you not give them the credit (http://open.lifechurch.tv/faq). And I think there are a lot of great reasons for them to suggest that. But let's call this the exception to the rule. 

"Copy from one author, it's plagiarism, but if you copy from many, it's research." 
- Wilson Mizner

Wilson's caution is a great reminder to us as communicators. Do the work, do the research. But what about those times when the content is fantastic as is?

What about when your 5 favorite chapters should be a 5 week teaching series? Then go ahead and steal, just make sure you give credit where it's due. Tell your audience! Shoot, let them read the book too! Your audience will love it (both your honesty and the extra material). Then focus on applying that content to your specific audience. Make it real for them in a way they could never get by reading the book on their own.