Sermon Preparation

Every pastor and preacher differs when it comes to preparing for sermons. There is no right or wrong way to prepare a sermon. The main point to understand is the importance of good preparation. Preaching is serious business. A preacher has the responsibility to proclaim God’s Word to the people. A pastor has even a greater responsibility as a teacher to continually instruct and equip the saints on a weekly basis. The sermon is not to be something that comes from the pastor or preacher, but from the very heart of God. The first step to good sermon preparation is to have a close relationship with Christ. The closer you are to Him the better preacher you will be. When it comes to the mechanics of preparing for a sermon, as I have said, there is no right or wrong way; however, I would like to share with you how I prepare. First of all, my sermon preparation begins with prayer and personal devotion. The sermon plans that I come up with begins with my daily prayer and devotional time. It is through that daily time of prayer and Bible reading that the Holy Spirit lays upon my heart the things that I should preach and teach. Secondly, my sermon preparation continues with planning. I have developed a personal system where I plan out what I will preach months in advance. This, of course, is subject to change. However, it helps me to know what I am going to preach well in advance. I keep a ‘sermon calendar’ where I put down the scripture passages and topics that I will preach throughout the year. This helps me to keep up with what is coming. With future sermons constantly on my mind, I am able to utilize various resources and life experiences that will be useful in an upcoming sermon. Thirdly, I am committed to preaching the Word through  expository preaching. Generally, I will preach through a book of the Bible or a series on a certain topic and preach scripture based on that topic or theme. For example, I may preach a series on giving. In that series I will have several expository messages on scriptures that have to do with giving. Currently, I am preaching through the book of Romans on Sunday mornings and the book of Revelation on Sunday evenings. It is this type of preaching that keeps me focused on preaching the truth. I try not to worry about what my congregation needs or wants to hear. I believe that God knows what they need and He will use His Word to help them. My responsibility is to simply preach the Word. I preach the scriptures and allow the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to use the scriptures to change lives. As I develop a sermon through prayer, devotion, planning, and study of God’s Word; I will then prepare a manuscript form of the sermon. Usually, this takes place on Monday or Tuesday. Remember, through keeping a sermon calendar, I already know what I will be preaching on and by the time I get to the place of writing the sermon, I am already prepared. Writing out the sermon is helpful to me because it causes me to do greater research on the passage that I am preaching on. Once the sermon manuscript is complete I will then prepare a preaching outline. The outline is a simple form of the manuscript. The outline is placed in my Bible to be used as a guide as I stand to preach. On a typical week, my sermon outlines for both services on Sunday is completed by Wednesday. Once the outline is completed I then practice the sermon. I will actually take that sermon and preach it in my office just like I would behind the pulpit. I have also been known to go to the sanctuary and practice preaching to the empty seats. This is done several times toward the end of the week. Practicing the sermon helps me to work on my speaking skills. Once all the preparation is done, I continue with prayer. Before every sermon, I will pray that God will use His Word. I pray that He will take me out of the picture and that He would be glorified. I pray that I will decrease so that Christ will increase. Then, I allow the Spirit of God to fill me and use my personality and passion in delivering God’s message to the people. The final stage of sermon preparation for me is review. In a typical week, before I go to bed on Sunday night, I would have already listened to the sermons I preached that day. Often times, I am convicted and God uses the sermons I preach to speak to me. I also listen carefully to what I say and how I say it. If I ever find anything that I said that was wrong in doctrine, I will make a note of it and make sure I correct it the next time I preach. A preacher or pastor should always be willing and ready to apologize and correct anything he preached that is not Biblical. Once the sermons are reviewed, the process begins all over again. Preparing sermons is not just something you sit down in one hour and do. Sermon preparation is a continual life-long journey. Preachers, as we grow, so does our sermons. The closer we are to Christ, the greater and more effective our preaching will be.

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