Friday, February 24, 2006

My Sermon Preparation

A couple of people have expressed interest in my sermon development process. It is nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary (I guess). But if it encourages you and gives you some helpful ideas for your preparation, then it may be worth sharing. Well, here is brief synopsis of the process.

Read the Text. I will read the passage several times, making sure to read the text in its context. I will read the text in several translations (both literal and loose). I will read the text in the original language (particularly in NT Greek). Sadly, my OT Hebrew is not up to par. it makes reading in the Hebrew troublesome, slow, and cumbersome for me.

Analyze the Text. I will go over the passage making note of key and recurring words, key phrases, important themes. I will do lexical work on key words and identify helpful important nuances of the grammar not easily seen in the English Bible.

Develop Outline. Here I identify the major them or idea of the passage and develop and outline featuring major and minor points I may want to bring out. Introduction and conclusion are usually developed about this time. The intro and the conclusion are key for me.

Do Cross References. As I develop major points, I will find supportive Scriptures for each point. This also is a good time to make note of illustrations, though illustrations generally come throughout the process.

Read Commentaries. I will begin checking my work with those expositors who have looked intently at the passage before me. I make sure your major points coincide with theirs. If there is a conflict, DO NOT IGNORE IT!. I seek to resolve any conflicts so that I am not the first to make a given point. I also enjoy reading a wide range of commentaries from old to new, from conservative to liberal, from devotional to technical.

Listen to Others. This is a step that is more available in our day than in previous times. The internet affords us a wealth of preaching and sermon resources. I try to listen to a couple of sermons on same passage or subject. This is another way of checking my content and to be encouraged by others as well. I find this not only helpful, but inspirational as well.

Write the Outline (Final Draft). This is the draft with which I will go into the pulpit. I usually preach from an outline, with which I am very familiar. For a Sunday Sermon this outline will usually get done on Friday and Saturday.

Meditation. This is the final step in my sermon preparation. I will spend time, and different times, meditating upon the sermon and praying over the various aspects. This is a time in which I envision myself preaching the sermon and how I would emphasize certain points. It is also where I am able to, in my mind's eye, ask God specifically to empower for aspects of the delivery. Here I am able to become so familiar with the sermon so as to not rely too heavily upon my notes.

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