When I began my studies at seminary, I had no desires to be a preacher. However, over the years preaching has become one of my favourite aspects of being a pastor.
Every pastor has a different way to prepare a sermon. I’m not suggesting that my way is the only or even the best way but it is the process that works for me. Here are seven steps in my sermon preparation.
- Read. I read a lot and listen to many podcasts. I consume content on many different subjects. I don’t research for a specific sermon but rather seek to increase my knowledge in a way that I have something to draw from when I start to write.
- Pick a Bible passage. I don’t pick a passage Sunday by Sunday. Rather I plan out a series. It might be a long series or a short series but I prefer to build one message on another. I try to plan out my messages and the passages months in advance.
- Translate. I choose to translate the passage from Hebrew or Greek. There are plenty of good English translations but I find that this helps me to get more into the passage. Almost every time I get some fresh insight.
- Read commentaries. My biblical commentaries are some of my most important tools. I read what scholars are saying about the passage. However, I don’t just blindly adopt their interpretation.
- Write an outline. I include sermon notes in the bulletin every week. These notes are actually my outline that I write before I write the sermon. I try to find a logical flow of how I want to teach the passage and identify the point of application.
- Write a manuscript. Many preachers do not write a manuscript. For the first five or six years of ministry, I always preached from a manuscript. Since then I no longer preach from a manuscript and do not bring one to the pulpit. But I still write the manuscript as it helps me to organize my thoughts. I turn my manuscripts into blog posts which you can find here.
- Create a mind map. I take my manuscript and turn the main points into a mind map, which is what I preach from. I find this much easier than writing just point form notes.
How do you prepare for your messages?