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Q & A – How Long To Prepare?

March 3, 2008

From last week’s Question and Answer session:

Questioner: Give us a ball park figure on how long it takes you to prepare a sermon?

Peter Grainger
: It depends on the passage. It depends on whether I’ve preached on it before and how much research I have to do. When we were studying Jeremiah (which was really hard work) – long passages, a lot of research: probably 15 to 20 hours. I’ve preached on Luke’s gospel before [the other current series], so I’m trying to reword in different ways: probably a little less than that – 10 hours. So when someone says ‘we’ve got a pastor, he preaches morning and evening and he does a midweek bible study’, I say ‘he doesn’t have time to do anything else then, has he?’ But they say, ‘no, he’s got to visit all the old people and a hundred and one other things!’

Colin Adams: I’m shorter in prep than I used to be (!) but I take a little longer than Peter. However, I think that when you’re starting out it naturally will take you longer. Is it fair to say, Peter, there’s an irreducible minimum though? Its not like certain fields of employment where you can become so expert that you can do the job in an hour!

Peter Grainger: Sure. The fact that you are more skilled at it, in that you know the materials and you know where to find them, means that you’re quicker at doing certain mechanical exercises. But beyond that, I find that the more I go on, the more I realise how ignorant I am! All the greater need to plead for God to give me insight!

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