Preaching is definitely not something that comes easily to me. I love the prep work that goes along with creating a sermon (okay, religion nerd here) but the delivery and topic choice is not something that I can do on the fly. It takes me months to get ready. This is why I’m thankful when my boss gives me lots of advanced notice when he has a date available for me to preach. Here’s a little of what my process looks like:
- It starts with prayer. Prayer is often where I start in many things in my life. It’s how I start my day, it’s how I start my meals, it’s how I start figuring out major decisions in my life, and it’s how I start my sermons. I ask God for direction, to help me identify a starting point: maybe a theme, maybe a title, maybe a scripture. It may start with prayer but that doesn’t complete the role of prayer. It continues all the way through to me thanking God for a successful sharing of my sermon.
- Next is the scripture. I am of the opinion that scripture is the driving force behind a sermon. Sure, you may be addressing world events, or happenings within your congregation. But the scripture is what helps you determine how to approach those occurrences. After the scripture(s) is(are) selected, I dig into it. What does it say to me? What is the time and place of the scripture? What do I remember from my Religion Course in college about this time, place and scripture? What words pop off of the page elements I need to pay attention to as I write and preach?
- And then I write. Sometimes this is just to get basic ideas on paper. It may end up being stream of consciousness that I later pare down. It could be well developed paragraphs, or stories, or other pieces that I want to research more.
- I write, and edit, and move things around. This part of the process means the sermon takes lots of different forms. I print my initial draft, mark it up with a colorful pen. And then go back to the electronic copy to make the changes. And then I print that copy, mark it up, and the process continues through that cycle 3-4 times. I read it out loud, and I read it in my head, and sometimes I have someone else read it too. And then I get to the “final draft” or the draft that gets used on Sunday morning.
If you are interested in hearing this week’s sermon, you can follow the link below. I really enjoyed this week’s sermon. I was able to add elements that shook things up a little (children reading scripture, and video faith talks, and car talk talk back questions). I’m thankful for a community that allows me to share with them, one that offers supportive high-fives and hugs, and one that laughs with me when I totally botch the Proclamation of the Good News after sharing communion. Listen Here Feel free to let me know what you think.