How I Write a Sermon
It is not uncommon for pastors to be asked about their sermon preparation habits. ”How long does it take?” ”What sources do you use?” “What day do you study?”, etc… There are plenty of other ways used by great preachers, but here is what mine basically looks like most weeks:
Monday – no message preparation
Tuesday – After prayer, I start to exegete (‘draw out of’) the Biblical text that I will be teaching that weekend. This means I study the historical, grammatical, contextual details of the text and the individual words. I feel this is a non-negotiable for the pastor. The first rule of Bible teaching is to be faithful to what the original writer meant to the original hearers of the text. Paul told Timothy “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). I use some software called Logos 4 for much of this. This is usually done for about 5 hours in the afternoon. A rough outline and the flow of the text usually begins to emerge.
Wednesday – On Wednesday morning I look at/listen to all the resources I can get my hands on concerning the subject. This includes other pastors, commentaries, books and internet research on a particular subject, etc. This is usually about 4 hours on Wednesday morning. I will also begin to write down some specific application – I want my hearers to know how to apply the truths in God’s Word specifically.
Thursday – Thursday is the day where I actually write the message down. I am not as tied into “points” as I was several years ago, but still need structure to it. This includes the necessary time on the introduction, illustrations, and application points. I do not use a manuscript but a fairly detailed outline. This also includes anything that will shown on the screens during the message. Writing this down is usually a process of about 6 hours most all day Thursday.
Friday – no preparation
Saturday – I will usually go into my study at home around 7pm and begin to go over the message. This includes editing it down a little, going over the outline a few times, adding a few things, etc. While I don’t technically “memorize” the message, I do want it to feel that way. When somebody is real tied to his notes, it can come across as insincere. I will then pray through the message from about 10pm to 11pm and then go to bed (long day on Sunday:))
Hope this helps and God bless your ministry!