Craig Groeschel produces a lot of content between the sermons he preaches, the podcasts he records, and the books he writes.
“Creating content is exhausting,” Groeschel says. It requires a high level of concentration and a lot of work to make something that is valuable and easy for someone to understand. A brief glance at his prolific work will tell you Groeschel is an expert at creating content. One of his listeners wrote to Groeschel to ask about his process for creating content. Anyone who’s asked how to write a sermon or something similar can glean a lot out of Groeschel’s advice.
Not everyone will teach or preach regularly, but everyone creates content to different extents on a daily basis. If you are in ministry especially, you might write a letter, cast vision, or inspire and instruct in meetings. These things are essentially creating content. Pastor’s have a weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) message they need to come up with. Groeschel’s tips are helpful whether you are preaching every weekend, leading a Bible study, or running a meeting of volunteers.
How to Decide What to Say
As leaders, whenever we speak we’re not just speaking, but leading, Groeschel reminds us. For this reason, he asks himself three questions whenever he is preparing content to share.
- What do I want the people to know? Groeschel says when he’s crafting a message for the weekend at his church, he aims to be able to capture the big idea of the message in one sentence. For his podcast, he likes to identify a “narrow topic” that he and his guest will discuss.
- What do I want them to feel? This is important because, as Groeschel says, “facts don’t move people to action.” Emotions do.
- What do I want them to do? What is the action you hope your communication compels people to do? The “do” should be refined down to “one big clear ask” instead of say nine asks. People are not likely to do more than one thing you ask them to do, but doing one thing is a lot more do-able.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Since creating content requires so much concentration, Groeschel offers a few tips to help you create the best content you can.
You’ll need to identify the right time of the day when you’re most creative, the right tools, and the right elements to include in this environment that will move you toward creativity. Personally, Groeschel prefers to work in four-hour increments earlier in the morning. Additionally, he likes to have a drink and some snacks nearby and ambient music playing in the background. He asks people not to interrupt him during this time.
Develop a Good Process
Groeschel gives the example of preparing for a leadership podcast to let us in on the actual process of creating something. The process could very easily apply to sermon prepartion. He breaks his process up into six steps:
Research, absorb, and capture ideas – This includes googling information about the topic he’s identified, reading articles, listening to other podcasts, etc. He typically spends a couple hours in this phase.
Organizing – After the research phase, Groeschel starts to organize the information he’s gathered into a workable outline.