MHPs face a weekly sermon deadline regardless of what the week has thrown their way. I’ve learned to get ahead of this unyielding deadline through some extensive pre preparation but still, it ultimately comes down to “butt in chair” preparation the week before a Sunday. Here’s my list of lessons learned and areas of improvement for sermon preparation including main sermon preparation blockage issues:
1) I put in about 10 hours of preparation between Tuesday and Saturday – a little each day. I do better with short bursts daily than long chunks and find myself mentally processing between “butt in chair” sessions. Saturday night after 8pm, I soak in the message, trying to memorize as much as I can for Sunday
2) I love initial research and actual delivery, but I bog down between the two. I resist moving from multiple ideas to one disciplined thread. I think it is because I’m a curious George and don’t commit to the hard discipline of editing. My goal this year is to love the edit and bust through this resistance.
3) My old approach was: multiple ideas to one idea to fleshing the idea to outline to finished sermon. Now I’m trying: multiple ideas to sermon outline of one idea to fleshing out to final sermon.
4) People ask when I’m finished preparing a sermon. I usually reply, “about 3pm on Sunday.” Its hard not to do post game analysis on a sermon.
5) Sometimes “butt in chair” is over rated and my best sermon structures come from a long drive of prayer and voice recorder app. I’ve learned that sometimes I have to push through blockage, but more often I need to change environments to fuel creative thinking.
6) I’m a people person (and therefore a people pleaser.) I cancel sermon prep to meet with people. This must change if I’m to grow as a preacher.
7) Our church is portable and we setup at 7am. Setup and trouble shooting is antithetical to a preaching state of mind. I try to grab 15 minutes of solitude before our service starts to calm my mind and pray.
8) I never rehearse. This year, I want to find a good rehearsal space Saturday night. I think this will help my deliver and most of all, the homiletic moves of the message.
Hmmm. I preach about 45 Sundays per year. I probably have about 35 decent sermons in me! I’m hoping to raise my consistency by addressing some of these blockages and tendencies in my preparation schedule. Feel free to share your own thoughts – I’d love to learn all I can about effective sermon preparation