I’m still pretty fresh on the scene of sermon creation, but my goal is to take the passion that God has given me for His Word and His Spirit and combine them. I feel I’ve been pretty heavily influenced by the likes of Steve O’Dell, Mark Driscoll and Bill Johnson, but I don’t do things quite the same.
Here’s a list of preparation steps for a sermon or series
- Pray. Make sure that I know I’m going God’s direction. It’s here that I’m asking the Holy Spirit to lead me.
- Read. Read the passage for a while, noting things God brings to mind. These things could be things that pop out at me within the text, other passages that relate, quotes I’ve heard, or topics from other pastors.
- Research. This is where I open as many tabs as possible on my computer. I do some concordance searching, get into Greek texts and commentaries, search topics in pastor and church forums online, etc. I gather context for what God’s people are saying and experience in regard to this passage. This is often where ideas for illustrations and testimonies come out.
- Outline. I write a brief outline of the points I want to get across.
- Write out. I like to write things out into block form. I don’t read my sermons like Wesley and Edwards likely did, but I find that writing them out helps me to organize my thoughts better, and every once in a while one of those stellar quotes comes rolling off the fingers as I type.
- Condense. This is necessary for taking out all the junk I just spewed out in the previous step. It takes time to refine the message.
- Create. Organizing everything into a PowerPoint (I use Keynote) helps me condense another time and gets another tool for communication. It’s also been requested by people in the congregation who take feverous notes and share them with coworkers and family members throughout the week.
- Check. I try to get done in time to have Jamie check it. Most good sermon points happen at this critical stage.
- Review and Pray. I like to spend the last hour before I preach just going over everything and praying, asking God to prepare me as well as the people who are hearing.
At any point in this process I’m looking for a few things (Thanks, Duane Mabee)
- What: One sentence that sums up everything I’m going to say
- So What: Answer this question for each person: “Why should I care? How does this effect me?”
- Now What: If it’s simple and persuasive to remember, and applies to the people you are engaging with, there should be a clear call to action, or tip for the week, or something tangible we can all take with us.
Is there anything I’m missing? What do you do differently? What’s your routine?