It's not exactly news that many pastors outsource their sermon-writing to others; it's been going on for centuries. The reasons for this jobbing-out of a primary pastoral task are manifold: the pastor may lack literary ability (and may perhaps be functionally illiterate); the pastor may feel himself so busy with his other pastoral tasks that he cannot spare the time to research and write a sermon himself; the pastor may feel "blocked" and unable to come up with anything insightful to say about Scripture on a given Sunday. Yet this common (if unadmitted) practice is still plagiarism -- and worse, a cheapening of the pastor's role in delivering God's Word to his sheep. The sermon should have a primary place in any church service. It is one of the primary means whereby Scripture is taught to the congregation (either directly in expository preaching or indirectly via topical preaching). A pastor who cannot write and deliver his own sermons is failing at a core element of his job, and this inability calls into question his own fitness for the role he occupies. Preaching a sermon is not simply oration. It is, ultimately, the creation and delivery of a commentary or essay on a bit of Scripture. It is primarily a literary effort rather than a rhetorical one. Nearly all of the great Christian sermonizers of the past (the Apostle Paul, St. John Chrysostom, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon) were excellent wordsmiths as well -- their talent was not in gifted speaking so much as in gifted writing. Too many modern pastors do not write well (or even read well, if we're being honest), and rely on forceful oratory to make up their literary lack. If you've spent as much time listening to Evangelical preachers as I have, you can spot a boilerplate sermon from a mile off. Your soft-spoken pastor, who has in the past delivered rather bland sermons punctuated liberally with many "ums" and "ahs" and stutters and coughs, all of a sudden turns up on Sunday and delivers a fire-breathing oration complete with Scripture references and name-dropping of famous theologians. Boy, the Spirit was really on him today!, we think with charming naivete. While this may be true sometimes, it is more often the case that the good pastor has availed himself of a sermon-writing service (or simply lifted an existing sermon off the internet, hoping no one will notice). Bad enough that these pastors are stealing others work and calling it their own; worse still is the ethical and intellectual rot this practice exposes. When someone preaches a sermon, they're teaching. This is not entertainment. When a sermon is being given, school is in session. But it is not education of the congregation only -- it is the preacher himself who is supposed to be learning and growing in wisdom by the preparation of his sermon. What does it say of a man of God if he delegates this task to someone else?