5 Different Ways to Prepare a Sermon: Pastors Share Their Secrets

Jonathan Pearson on How to Prepare a Sermon

  • Previous Week:
    • Research key topic … find scripture, stories, etc
  • Monday:
    • Finalize main ideas, key points and main scriptures
    • research key ideas and themes in Bible Study software (Olive Tree)
  • Tuesday:
    • Put together initial outline using notes from Monday,
      often leaving illustrations and final challenge empty while outline “sits”
  • Wednesday:
    • Ignore … as much as possible.
      So I can look with fresh, new eyes Thursday
  • Thursday:
    • Run though initial outline making necessary changes
      • restructuring
      • adding
      • taking away
      • smoothing out transitions
  • Friday & Saturday:
    • Run through without much change to outline
      No changes unless God COMMANDS after Friday
  • Sunday:
    • Preach!

Mike Kjergaard on How to Prepare a Sermon

I usually have my sermons/series planned six to 12 months ahead of time, so I’m not starting from scratch each week. Often, if I’m in a book series (e.g., currently, I’m preaching through the Gospel of Mark), I will do some of the pre-work (overview of book, historical and theological study, etc.) before the series begins. But here is what a typical week looks like:

  • Sunday night
    • begin thinking/praying about next Sunday’s message
  • Monday
    • usually have meetings, but do preliminary work if possible
  • Tuesday
    • study text
    • Jot down my own thoughts before turning to commentaries, etc.
  • Wednesday
    • more study
    • sketch outline
    • If I am preaching the series with others (two or three times a year, some preacher friends and I preach the same series), I will email them what I have so far.
  • Thursday
    • look for possible illustrations
    • send outline to tech people
  • Friday
    • tweak if necessary
  • Saturday
    • let it simmer
  • Sunday
    • Preach!
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Brandon Kelley
Brandon Kelley serves at a fast-growing church plant in Batavia, Ohio (east side of Cincinnati) called The Crossing in the role of Outreach & Communications Pastor. He loves to learn and write about preaching and leadership.