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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 is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Lead Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.