Among things missing in much preaching today, I regret the following:
1. Too often no distinct text is announced at the outset (almost as though a text is a boring way to start a sermon). But nothing was more important. In former times; a preacher often gave out his text twice.
2. Lack of passion and urgency
3. On the the part of the preacher, there is a lack of faith– not a lack of faith in his message, but of faith in Christ to enable him to speak in His name without dependence on a written manuscript. There is too much paper in pulpits!
4. Lack of memorization of Scripture! We all ought to know much more Scripture by heart than we do, and especially preachers. An occasional turning up of a reference with the congregation is understandable, but to make a practice of it, and to fail to quote Scripture freely, is to diminish what preaching ought to be.
5. Far better to be short than to be dull! A number of eminent preachers could be quoted who did not think 20 minutes is too short or is unacceptable. There ought to be more variation.
– Iain Murray