Sermonizing

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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