Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Harder Work - Craig Groeschel on preparing a Sermon

A great post today by Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv on his thoughts about how to prepare a sermon. I'm with Craig on this one. I'm of the sort of person where I need to let things percolate in me for a while before I'm ready to assemble my sermon (or any other important piece of writing). I can sit down and bang something out if I have to, but it won't be nearly as good as it could be. Since I am a new pastor, I am slowing trying to get ahead of the curve and work on my sermons farther out each month. I'm not there yet. I'm not where I want to be, as the combination of learning the job, trying to sell a house, finding a job for my wife and a myriad of of things keeps me from being able to sit down and plan the next 6 months where I want to go. But slowing I'm working on it, and I intend to reach the point where I have a vision for where I am going with sermons 4-6 months in advance. Certainly I'm still open to God's leading to cover something else as need or conviction arises, but this way, I have a plan, some direction, something to focus on.

Craig Groeschel's post that inspired me today:

We’re talking about the importance of “bringing” you in a message to your church.

To bring you means you’ll have to spend more time in study and prayer.

(Notice I didn’t say research. Studying the text is vital, but don’t stop there.)

  • A “Saturday night special” sermon that you throw together won’t likely empower you to bring you.
  • A sermon you lifted from www.quickandeasyfreesermonsforlazypastors.com won’t do the trick either. (I made up that site.)
  • A rehashed sermon you preached five years ago will likely feel like a rehashed sermon you preached five years ago.

You must live the message. Breathe the message. Experience God’s Spirit speaking to you. That generally takes time. In my opinion, the best messages are usually ones that are born out of days or weeks of wrestling with God’s Word.

When possible, I suggest:

  • Spend four days preparing three hours a day rather than one twelve-hour day. (This gives your Spirit and mind time to process what God is saying to you.)
  • Interview a few other people about the text. See how God speaks to them. God might say something to you through them.
  • Let the message “cook.” Instead of microwaving a message, give God time to slowly burn the message on your heart.

If you are unwilling to do what it takes to bring you, your effectiveness as a biblical communicator will be drastically limited.

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