7 Steps in My Sermon Preparation

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?


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