When it comes to preaching—and, for that matter, many areas in life—my motto is always learning. Once you stop learning, you not only stagnate: you revert. Still, it is helpful to have a tried-and-true method for accomplishing a task, especially when you are called to accomplish that task, again and again—with excellence.
Over the course of several years, and heavily influenced by classic texts on the topic, I’ve developed two resources which I use nearly every time I prepare to preach. The first is an overview of the entire task of preaching. I use it to make sure I have the essential components in place. The second takes a deeper dive and guides me along the preparation process.
I offer these resources here for anyone who might find them helpful as a resource—or even as a launchpad for a discussion into the nature of Christian preaching and how we can do it better.
One caveat: if you ask me a few months from now for a copy of these resources, I can almost guarantee that, though the essentials will be the same, a few things will be tweaked here and there. After all, I’m always learning, and right now I’m reading Chris Anderson’s TED Talks which I’m sure will give me some insights into how to be a better communicator.
After all, the Word of God deserves to be delivered in the clearest, most compelling way possible.
Sermon Preparation Overview – Includes a readiness checklist, the purpose of every sermon, the essential steps in preparation, and a basic template for a common sermon.
Sermon Worksheet – Walks you through the essential building blocks of the sermon in two stages: (1) the exegetical stage and (2) the sermon stage. In the exegetical stage, you must discover the structure and meaning of the passage, its redemptive aim, and key themes. In the sermon stage, you must shape these discoveries into a format that may be delivered verbally to a particular audience within a set amount of time. The sermon stage requires that you identify the (1) kernel of the sermon (or “throughline,” thank you Chris!), (2) tensions, (3) residual impact, (4) rhetorical structure, (5) emotional journey, (6) illustrations, (7) introduction and conclusion.