The Joy of Sermon Preparation and Delivery
One of the greatest joys of my pastoral ministry is sermon preparation and delivery. I also consider it to be one of the highest privileges: studying GOD's Word, developing a message, and delivering it to listeners.
Every pastor approaches sermon preparation in his own unique way and own preaching style. For example, some pastors enjoy preaching on topics (e.g., prayer, sharing the faith, and specific doctrines). Others prefer topical/textual messages (i.e., select a specific text and address a topic in that text). For the most part, I prefer exegetical, expository (verse by verse) messages. In other words, I find a text, discover it's overarching theme, and study the text verse by verse). For me, I utilize the following steps:
1. I select a text from the Bible
2. If the text is in the New Testament, then I translate the passage from the original language (Koine Greek). I have indeed benefited from 3 years of study of Koine Greek. I regret I am not as well "versed" in the Old Testament Hebrew language.
3. After I read through the text, I develop what I call "Sermon Beginnings." I write down the Biblical reference, the overarching theme of the text (i.e., the subject), the title, the proposition (i.e., the main thought of the text), and the objective (i.e., what I hope and pray the response will be to the message).
4. I develop a "skeletal" outline: Main points and subpoints (these work together to reinforce the main theme of the text).
5. I begin an exegesis of the text. That is, I begin parsing verbs, breaking both words and also the verses down one by one to locate spiritual truths.
6. I continue by adding "spiritual meat" to the skeleton. First, I write down truths that come to my heart and mind as I study each verse.
7. After I have done the majority of the study, I then consult several commentaries, seeking to learn what the commentators say about the verses, thereby gaining additional insight.
8. Then, after I have developed the text, I search for illustrations.
9. I continue this process from Monday - Wednesday. Then, on Thursday morning, I type my message manuscript.
10. On Saturday night and Sunday morning, I read through the manuscript many times.
11. Throughout the sermon preparation process, I also spend time praying for my preparation, delivery, and also the public invitation. When I stand up to preach, I ask for the power of the HOLY SPIRIT on my life, with the desire that GOD would speak through me.
12. When I step "into the pulpit" on Sunday morning/Sunday night, I have my manuscript on a music stand to my right, but only occasionally consult it, preferring to focus my attention on those who are listening to the message. I recently moved "the pulpit" to the side, so I can focus more on the listeners than my manuscript - and I love it!!!
I must say that I absolutely love this process! I take very seriously my responsibility of bringing GOD's Word on Sundays. That is the reason I spend hours upon hours in this process! I want to make sure I do my very best to prepare and deliver GOD"s Word. When I stand up to preach on Sundays, I earnestly desire for peoples' lives to be impacted for GOD's glory!