I had about 3 minutes.
So I grabbed his yellow notebook and shot from the hip. I’m sure, given unlimited time and an endless supply of warm chocolate chip cookies, I could have done a better job. This will have to do for now. Here is the fast, cookie-free version:
(1) PRAY! It’s God talking, not you. :: I think preachers forget sometimes that the Word of God has said enough. Our job is to preach with the help of the Holy Spirit so that our congregations understand what God is saying to them. This, then, is not so much an opportunity to support OUR ideas with scripture, but to help make GOD’s ideas understandable and connected to the real life of the people listening.
(2) Identify your target. Believers? Not? :: This is common sense on one level, but is easily forgotten… and the ramifications carry some weight. Before you can communicate effectively, you need to know your audience. Some passages in scripture speak to the unforgiven. Some passages challenge, strengthen, or encourage the already convinced. Some passages speak to both. Before you preach, figure out what God is calling you to say AND who he is calling you to speak it to.
(3) Figure out the BIG IDEA of the text (The main thing you think God is saying here in one sentence). :: A number of teachers whom I admire have said this before: most of the time, you will communicate most clearly by saying one thing well. When I’m prepping a message, it helps me stay focused and clear to carefully craft my BIG IDEA before I begin writing the message.
(4) Make sure you are saying what the text says, not using it to prove your own ideas. :: No explanation needed.
(5) Think about these three things BEFORE you write it out:
(A) KNOW = At the end of your message, what do you want people to know? It helps me to restate my most important point using, “At the end of the message, I want people to know that ______________________.”
(B) FEEL = Yes, Lutherans can feel things. Have you seen the Vikings fans when Green Bay is in town? Right. We can even feel deeply in church without compromising our spiritual integrity. So I think it is appropriate to think ahead of time about how you expect people will FEEL as you deliver this message. Encouraged? Celebratory? Reflective?
(C) DO = As a response to this message, is there something you’re asking them to DO? It is important to remember that religiously motivated action that isn’t a genuine worship RESPONSE to what God has done for us is simply legalism. I do think it is appropriate sometimes to suggest a specific responsive action – to ask them to DO something – but we must always make it an option, a suggestion, wrapped in the grace of God and a reminder that we love because He first loved us.
(6) Make sure you include both LAW (our need for God) and GOSPEL (God’s solution in Jesus) in EVERY message. :: I know… my Lutheranosity is showing. This does not mean we have to shoehorn anything into the text. The Bible always will point us to Jesus. Cover to cover. The whole Bible points to and helps us understand the centerpiece of all of history: Jesus redemptive sacrifice on the cross as a propitiation for our sins.
Is there something I missed?
“six sermon prep tips :: how i get ready to preach” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.