How You Prepare to Preach (2nd edition)

February 14, 2007

Following on from last week’s Under Construction, find here how another preacher (Robert Talley) prepares his sermons. Please do keep these coming: adams.colinandrew@yahoo.co.uk.


I. Choose your text
A. I like to choose my series at least two months ahead of time with the exception of November and December which are already chosen because of the American Thanksgiving and the Advent seasons. I do a mixture of book series and topical series (a doctrinal series on the Holy Spirit).
They are always chosen for a specific purpose. The book series may not be verse by verse. For example, I preached Ecclesiates in four sermons.

B. After selecting the series and determining its length. I decide what the specific sermons will be by selecting the text and the title. Selecting the title helps me to focus on a theme and to gather random but pertinent material and thoughts. Often the title becomes my dominant thought during the sermon.

II. Meditate on the text
A. I plan a Sunday morning sermon two to four weeks in advance. This allows me to give relaxed time to other studies and sermons I am doing during the week. This also gives me more time to pray over that particular sermon the week before it is preached. I’m sure it doesn’t matter to God when I pray over it but I feel the prayer/meditation factor helps me as I’m coming up to the time to preach the sermon.

B. I try to concentrate on word studies at the beginning of the study phase. This usually gives me ideas, gets my juices flowing, and I begin writing. Somewhere during this process, a workable outline reveals itself. Since I use a previous sermon manuscript as my template, this
allows me to start putting material in a logical thought pattern, which certainly is not in concrete. I choose the template based on a previous sermon that is similar in some way. Type of passage, theme, length of passage, etc. This especially helps me to keep practical application in the forefront of my barebones structure. I try to choose sermon templates I
thought “applied” well.

C. I usually have two typed pages of ideas before I begin to consult commentaries and other sermons. Most of this is barebones except for a couple of paragraphs that caught fire and went out of control.

III. Arrange your material and isolate the dominant thought
Write, write, write. Edit, edit, edit. Go back and see how the parts connect. Write an introduction and conclusion, if I haven’t already that focus me on the dominant thought. Take the extra sermon material that I have and save to a place where I think I will use it. Double-check to make sure what I’m preaching is actually in the text. Replace words or
explain words that are confusing or unclear. I’m always thinking on the sermon. Always! It’s a sickness.

VI. The night before, during, and the morning after.
A. Reread and edit the sermon before posting it on the website. Manuscripts tend to be four to seven pages. Rarely, do I preach everything I have on paper. The editing process continues in the pulpit. I add new material extemporaneously. Monday is given to sermon writing. The quicker I get Sunday out of my system, the better. Tuesday is my day of rest. Most weeks 🙂

B. The results can be found on the church website: www.fellowshipbiblechurch.tk


One comment

  1. One of the things I find interesting about Rob’s approach is that he begins to write immediately and starts to formulate his outline as he goes. Previously, I have tended to resist writing until the last possible moment and planned my outline to the last detail. I’d be interested to know if anyone “writes as they go” in the same way that Robert does.

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