My 7 Day Sermon Prep Strategy

img_0755

I love to preach! There is no greater feeling than being used by God to transform lives by the things that come out of my mouth! Crazy! Especially when I consider how unworthy I am. It just blows my mind to know that I am making an eternal difference in someones life! I love to preach!

Yet I used to hate preparing to preach. Sermon preparation for many a preacher can be down right stressful and discouraging.

Yet in order to be an effective preacher you have to be equally effective in your preparation. The process will produce the product. If the process is flawed then the product will be as well.

So identifying best practices and proven methods of effective sermon preparation is critical to delivering life-changing messages.

Having studied a number of powerful preachers I noticed that they all have a consistent process or system for developing cogent and impactful sermons. After preaching for over 15 years I have finally settled into a simple sermon preparation strategy that works for me. My system may not work for you but it may help you to identify some practical things to do to help you deliver powerful messages consistently.

For the sake of clarity preaching for me is simply communicating the gospel through your unique personality. Nothing more. Nothing less. Preaching is art in that it is diverse and creative. Preaching is also a science in that it is based on laws of hermeneutics and exegesis. But, at the end of the day it must be consistently powerful and life changing not “with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4 NIV).

So every time I preach, I want my preaching through the anointing of the Spirit to produce transformed minds and changed lives rather than congratulations and applause.  I have developed a 7 day sermon process. This process is based on series preaching that covers one topic or theme over several messages (For those of you who are pastors who have to preach regularly I have found series preaching to be most helpful to the preacher and to the congregation). My process is not meant to show you how to preach, rather it gives you a day-by-day picture of what to do so that you are ready when its time to preach.

Here is my 7 day sermon preparation strategy:

Sunday

  • I will listen to my most recent sermon I preached on Sabbath (day before) and take notes of things that I could have said and need to say in the following message.
  • I read repeatedly the selected text for the upcoming Sabbath and meditate on it
    to determine my sermonic goal.

Monday

  • Day of Prayer and Fasting. 
  • Family Day 

Tuesday

  • I read in various translations the selected scripture looking for the big idea and the contextual situation.
  • I take notes on initial thoughts and ideas that jump out of the text.

Wednesday

  • I take a day off from the sermon and spend time in visitation and member care.
  • This is a vital and is one of the most important parts of sermon preparation for application. Inevitably the Spirit will speak to me through my members and confirm or redirect how the Lord wants to use me on Sabbath.

Thursday

  • This is my main day for sermon internalization seeking to be crystal clear about the essence of what I want to say.
  • I read all supporting material (commentaries, EGW, books, articles other sermons)
  • I will clarify the big idea and main principle of the text.
  • I seek to answer the following questions: What was this text saying to the original audience? What is this text saying today? What do they need to know?  Why do they need to know it? What do they need to do? Why do they need to do it?”

Friday

  • This is sermon organization day.
  • Craft sermon notes and outline.
  • I organize my sermon outline (no full manuscript just an outline) around one singular point based on Andy Stanley’s book on preaching Communicating for a Change:
    • Me-Introduce the subject by finding a dilemma that I am currently facing and point of tension
    • We-find common ground with audience around the same dilemma or issue
    • God-Then I transition to the text to find out what God has to about this issue or dilemma
    • You-Then I challenge me and the audience to act and apply what God said through His Word
    • We-Finally, I close with several statements about what could happen in your community, your church, or the world, if everybody embraced that particular truth

Sabbath Morning

  • Wake up at 6am and spend time praying and taking a last walk through the message.
  • Praying for a move of God.
  • Praying for humility.
  • Praying for flesh and self to get out of the way.
  • Praying for souls to be saved.
  • Preach with no manuscript and minimal notes.

Give me your feedback on this 7 day process.

8 comments

  1. Chaplain Michael A. Smith II · May 9, 2016

    In all the sermons I’ve heard and prepared myself, I love this process. When I began preaching in 1996, I began as a manuscript preacher. I would spend 15-20 hours on each sermon, culminating into a 12-15 page ‘term paper’ manuscript. One of the things I learned early on as I began ministry was that the manuscript tied me down to the pulpit, tied me down to one spot (no moving around), and hindered my need to allow the Holy Spirit to insert His power in my preaching. It was so academic. So researched. So rote. I would find myself disappointed with myself because it became too long (45min-1hour), and the saints let me know by falling asleep or becoming uninterested by the end.

    After 3 years of weekly District [Local Elder/Assistant Pastor] preaching, I began to move towards a more ‘Notes’ preaching as I became an Itinerant Preacher. I believe that your method works only in the local church pastorate where on has a regular preaching schedule at their own pulpit. Series preaching is like a ‘cliffhanger’ in media entertainment. You are able to give only so much, and encourage the saints to come back for part 2,3,and so on. It also keeps the subject matter fresh, even when preaching from the same text or theme.

    I believe every aspect of your 7-day Sermonic Preparation is vital to the ‘final product’ on Sabbath morning. There is one point of contention though. Not everyone has the photographic memory and gift (similar to Drs. Barry Black and James Doggette, Sr.) to preach with no notes or sermon helps. I find that often you preach with less than 10 slides to help jog your memory and help you move the sermon along methodically. Few have that gift. I myself, find that now I am able to preach with 3 pages! No more! Text, Quotes, Historical context, and overall theme is all I put on paper. Bullet points to help me move my sermon along.

    I also find that in today’s church settings, the members attention spans are only about 30 minutes. You can squeeze up to 45 with appeal included. But once you come close to that time, the members lose interest and you’ve lost them. Sermon delivery is indeed vital. Also inserting your own unique family, struggles, issues, triumphs, ups & downs, etc., is vital to making the preacher more human and real to the listeners. I find that when I preach to myself, the listeners understand that the sermon is also for the preacher!

    In conclusion, I do enjoy your process. It indeed comes out as prepared, prayed over, and confident once you stand up to preach.

    Like

    • MyRon Edmonds · May 9, 2016

      Good contribution Mike! You are on it!

      Like

  2. Jaime Kowlessar · May 10, 2016

    Thanks for the article! I’m going to follow your system, because there is no method to my madness. I think I’ve gotten accustomed to my dysfunction where I personally think that it is ok!

    Liked by 1 person

    • MyRon Edmonds · May 10, 2016

      Lol!!!!!! I feel you. Hope this helps

      Like

  3. Jillian Monét · May 10, 2016

    This is so helpful and practical. It is a temptation for many to rely on anointing without preparation. This is a step by step practical prep. Others keep this a secret and play up “the anointing” leaving many to question their calling because they are ashamed to admit that this information is needed and desired. No more dysfunctional prep and unfocused sermons! Thank you Doc!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nathan Moyo · May 10, 2016

    Hi Ps Edmonds, thank you for the notes. I’m a young preacher seeking to accomplish the same goal of delivering a powerful and meaningful sermon. You just gave me an insightful note. Thank you

    Like

  5. Jason A. Bulgin · May 10, 2016

    I HATE MANUSCRIPTS! I feel they take away from my connection with the audience and authenticity of the message. That being said I’ve only preached without a manuscript on a handful of occasions simply because of preparation time. I’m not yet in a place where I dedicate the time I need to internalize the information but as a preacher it is my goal to get there. Manuscripts for now keep my wandering mind focused but I am in no way bound to it and will leave the pages in a moment to follow the Spirit. I like the organic nature of having a conversation, asking questions, and answering questions with the Bible in hand. Your method gives structure to what I aspire to do so THANK YOU!

    Like

    • MyRon Edmonds · May 10, 2016

      You have to just jump in the deep in brother!!!!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s