Brain Power for Sermon Prep


How a More Effective Sermon Prep Time Starts with This …

by Will Graham

Tests show that writing on physical paper (as opposed to typing on a keyboard) increases conceptual comprehension and retention.

And, according to The Guardian, it isn’t just words and letters that we process differently. “Texts themselves, so far as our brains are concerned, are physical landscapes. So it shouldn’t be surprising that we respond differently to words on a printed page compared to words on a screen.”

It turns out that it is the screen’s unique assets that are either unhelpful or downright destructive when it comes to comprehension and expression.

Apparently, the reason for the superiority of physical writing—with a pen and paper—lies in the mental exercise required. “… the relative slowness of writing by hand demands heavier ‘mental lifting,’ forcing [people] to [summarize] rather than quote verbatim.”

To boil it down to a simple phrase …

Friction is good.

MRI scans have shown activation across areas of the brain during freehand drawing that typing and tracing do not show.

So what does all this have to do with your sermons?

How about everything!

According to Science Daily, when typing on a keyboard, the learning process may be impaired. “When writing by hand, our brain receives feedback from our motor actions, together with the sensation of touching a pencil and paper.”

Essentially, writing by hand is the ultimate “learning by doing” exercise when it comes to preparing speeches and sermons.

Research has also linked the use of screens to a “lack of focus.”

Preaching Rocket coach Jeff Henderson refers to preparing your sermon on a computer as looking at the “cursing cursor.”

You know, the blinking cursor cursing at you when you try to start your sermon prep.

But … are there better ways to begin your sermon prep? Better ways to outline? Jeff Henderson thinks so. See what he has to say in the video below.

To order your own Sermon Craft Notebook, please click here.