Writing sermons my way...

I thought I'd write down a few thoughts about how I go about preparing a sermon. Please note this isn't meant to be necessarily prescriptive or imitated rather it's what I find helpful. Take from it what you want.

Maybe have a look and see how many things in the picture that would help me.
  1. Computer - I write all my sermons out pretty much in full in Word. I'd find it hard to write without my computer.
  2. Bible Gateway - I use this to get all my quotes and cross references from the Bible. It also lets me look at different translations.
  3. I think hard over and read over the passage and try and run it through my head in the weeks up till I preach.
  4. I think really hard about what my hearers need to hear. I sit and daydream their world so I know how to speak to it. I think hard about how the passage applies them. I sometimes get a strong feeling about what I need to say to them or what I'd like to say. I always then check back that this is actually what my text is saying.
  5. Take notes - Having read, prayed and thought about my text I take written notes. I write out a rough structure (points etc). It's usually messy and undergoes much revision.
  6. Dictionary - I use an online or hard copy to help me define any terms I don't understand
  7. New Bible Commentary - I like this. It gives a good overview without being overly technical. I use it to make sure I'm not off track with my ideas.
  8. Other Commentaries - I looked at two. Martin Lloyd-Jones and Don Carson. I found them pretty helpful. Sometimes they'd have a interesting observation or way of putting things. I'll write down anything that looks interesting or useful.
  9. I'll usually also grab a couple of books I've been reading recently and check to see if they have anything I can use that applies to my passage (it's easy just check the index).
  10. Google - I find is great to help me find quotes and cool ways of putting things in a fresh light. I especially like it when I find "non Christians" saying things similar to a point I'm trying to make with my sermon. (eg. See below)
  11. I like to think of catchy phrases to as I write/think. Things like "Sitting in the gutter looking at the stars" (which google tells me is from Oscar Wilde).
  12. Ask Christine - I'm generally not really good at this but Christine always gives helpful advice and links.
  13. Online Sermons - I listened to a couple. One by a preacher down at Kingston Church, the other by John Piper. Again I take notes and write down anything that looks good or useful.
  14. I next I paste the text I'm using into Word with verse/passage at top to keep referring to. I add any quotes in typing them out in full.
  15. As I write, I preach what I write. I say things aloud as if I was preaching to listeners. This way my text sounds like a sermon not an essay.
  16. I like to phone a friend. My friend Seumas is one of my brains trusts. Often I get him to jot down some thoughts on a passage if it's something he's studied. We either chat on facebook, skype or msn.
  17. I usually also run stuff by Mikey. With this one I sent him my text via email and we talked about it over the phone.
  18. It's really important to apply the passage to your own life. It took me a while with this last sermon but I think my best application was aimed squarely at myself.
  19. As I write more I practice parts (or all) of the sermon and work out how to vary the tone in my voice.
  20. Lastly I print out the final copy and highlight and underline it to reflect how I want to say things.



Al Bain said... 12/15/2008 6:49 am  

Thanks for that Mike. Looks like you work really hard at application. Look forward to hearing you some time.

Astrid said... 12/15/2008 1:40 pm  

how long does the process take in in hours - it looks like al ot of work.

I think you dedication to app is good and I think that came thru well when you were at focus

drjmarkh said... 1/29/2009 5:26 pm  

Thanks for sharing your process. I like some of your ideas in preparing for a sermon. Keep up the good work.
Thanks again,

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