On June 15, Pastor Mark held an impromptu Preaching and Preparation Q & A session on his Facebook Page. The Q & A session was spurred by the responses to Pastor Mark’s post earlier in the day, “Prepping 2 sermons today. Thankfully, a sermon takes about as long to prep as preach.” The following post is adapted from the conversation.
Preach the Word
Many people have asked questions about my methods for preaching and sermon preparation. So I thought I’d share my methods, which are unorthodox and not something I’d suggest copying.
Also, to be clear, I’m not critical of anyone else’s methods. As long as the Bible is open, and Jesus is the hero, I’m glad. How we get there is not a major concern of mine. The Bible tells us to “preach the Word,” but it doesn’t not tell us how to do that in detail.
What Preaching Is for Me
When prepping a sermon, I first lay out the text of Scripture into units of thought. I then get a big idea for each thought unit, make a few notes on each, and read commentaries quickly to catch anything I’ve missed. Generally, this takes me about an hour.
For various projects, I’m reading and studying all the time. I’m also writing constantly. These other projects end up coming in very handy for my sermon prep and significantly reduce my prep time.
“As long as the Bible is open, and Jesus is the hero, I’m glad.”
By God’s grace, my memory is very unusual. I can still remember a section of a book I read 20 years ago while preaching and roll with it. I’ve also never sat down to memorize a Bible verse. Yet, many just stick, and I can pull them up from memory as I go. Lastly, I’m a verbal processor. I think out loud, which is what preaching is for me. A degree in speech and over 10,000 hours of preaching experience also helps. And most importantly and thankfully, the Holy Spirit always helps.
When I get up to preach, the jokes, illustrations, cross-references, and closing happen extemporaneously. I never teach others how to preach, as my method is not exactly a replicable method—nor a suggested one. But it works for me.