It’s a long week and there’s not enough coffee in the world. You have exhausted your preaching, but another sermon must come.
So you stare at the screen as the blinking cursor mocks you. Come on. Think!
The words come slow.
Do you ever struggle with the blank page in your sermon preparation?
Honestly, most pastors would admit they do.
It gets overwhelming creating fresh material week after week.
Sometimes it’s because we need a better sermon preparation process. And if that’s what you need, you can get that here.
But what if the words aren’t flowing is because you haven’t lived them?
You found a Bible verse to preach, but the verse has yet to be found in you.
Your life is overstuffed with Bible studies, emails, hospital visits and board meetings—not exactly the makings of a captivating story.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy work of ministry that we don’t allow the ministry to work on us.
But the best sermons are birthed from experience living the Word. You need to slow down and let it soak in.
Has the text penetrated your heart? Has it changed you?
If you struggle to find the words to say, you need to stop looking and start living. Live a life worth talking about.
HOW TO LIVE A SERMON BEFORE YOU PREACH IT
When you live a verse, you’ll never be short on words.
For example, if you know you are going to be preaching about generosity in a month, go do something uncomfortably generous. Let the Word convict you. Then, get out of your office and do the Word.
Observe what happens. Note your fear, hesitations and how you felt. Write about your experience.
I guarantee that you will have a story to tell and plenty to say about what you learned in applying the message to your life.
Maybe you have a sermon about forgiveness planned. Who do you need to forgive?
Maybe there’s someone in your past who hurt you a long time ago. Reach out to them and have that long overdue conversation.
Now write about what happened when you applied Christ’s principles of forgiveness.
But what if you are preaching about a topic like addiction?
Obviously, I don’t advocate buying heroin to give it a try. But you could talk to people at a drug rehab center or a recovery group.
Listen to their story and empathize with their struggle for freedom from their self-inflicted chains.
APPLY THE WORD TO YOUR LIFE BEFORE YOU PREACH IT TO YOUR PEOPLE
The goal isn’t so you can be the hero of the story. It’s not about you.
The goal is to confess, “This passage challenged me. I struggled with this too. So this is what I did. Here’s what I learned. And here’s how we can all live this out.”
Now that has the makings of a good sermon. I want to listen to that pastor.
Plus, you will become a better preacher and pastor.
You will tell a better story because you are speaking from experience. You’ll know how to talk to people wrestling with a topic because you have wrestled with it too.
The sermon will come from your heart and touch the hearts of your audience too.
So put an end to the blank-page blues. Don’t write a sermon until you live the message.
Don’t just preach it. Live it.
You will never run out of material to preach. You won’t just be preaching ideas; you’ll be talking about real life. And that is exactly what people crave.
People want more than your theological platitudes from ivory towers. They want the nitty-gritty details of how the Bible works down here in the real world.
Study the Word.
Live the Word.
Then you’re primed to preach the Word.
This article originally appeared here.