Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sermon Preparation - Part 2

In my last post, I explained the first five steps I take each week to prepare Sunday’s sermon. In this post, I will list and explain the last five steps of this process.

As I stated last week, these steps should overlap with each another. One step does not need to be completely fulfilled in order to move on to the next one. With that said, the sequential order of this list should still be followed.

6) Read Multiple Commentaries & Additional Resources
I find it important to pick the minds of others who have already studied my Scripture passage. They may see things I have overlooked, confirm what I have observed, or even correct a misunderstanding I may have about the text. Sometimes I will even listen to sermons on the particular passage. I also find these to be a particularly helpful source for sermon illustrations.

7) Explain the Main Points and Supporting Points of the Outline
Once I have developed my outline and compiled my research it’s time to start arranging the information in a coherent fashion. I virtually write out everything that I am going to say so that I am clear and precise; writing helps ensure this happens.

8) Find Beneficial Illustrations
An illustration takes a theological principle and makes it concrete. It helps the audience internalize the truth being taught and makes it easier to recall later. I have found that biblical illustrations are the best because they use Scripture to reinforce Scripture. Church history is the second best source. Church history reminds us that Christians have lived out these biblical truths prior to us. Illustrations from everyday life are also beneficial because people can relate to them.   

9) Create Practical Application
Preaching isn’t merely about the exchange of information; it’s ultimately about transformation.  Applying the truths of the passage is what brings about conformity to Christ. Application, helps avoid being “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

10) Develop the Introduction & Conclusion
It serves the audience well to begin by grabbing and securing their interest at the beginning. People are selfish and are always asking, “What’s in this for me?” If you don’t give your audience an incentive at the beginning it will be difficult for them to continue listening. Conclusions are helpful because they reinforce everything that has just been taught. I admit that this step is probably the most difficult, but it can ultimately make or break the sermon.  

Those are the ten steps I follow each week to develop my sermons. This does not mean this is the only way or the “right” way to prepare a sermon; it’s just my approach. Let me know what you think.

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