As a preacher’s kid, I remember watching my Dad preach three different sermons each week. One Sunday morning, another Sunday evening and one more Wednesday night. What’s even more amazing is that he did this BEFORE the Internet was invented.
In our fast-paced, high-tech world, the temptation is to short-circuit the hard work and download someone else’s sermon to preach. After all, Sundays have the maddening propensity to arrive every seven days and developing a sermon is lonely, difficult work.
If you’re reading this article on preaching there’s a good chance God has gifted you with the ability to teach His word. My guess is that you want to share that gift with your congregation and teach God’s word in a fresh, unique way. But the crunch of leading a staff, ministering to people, and the daily tasks of ministry make crafting original and compelling sermons more difficult than you wish. Here are three commitments you can make that will help you preach better sermons with your own unique voice.
1. Get ahead. I know this seems impossible but if you could get 2-3 weeks ahead, even if it’s a rough outline, you will discover something powerful. You will find better illustrations, stronger insights and more concise phrasing during that 2-3 week period. The better the preparation the better the sermon. As communication expert Nancy Duarte says, “The audience’s interest is tied directly to the presenter’s preparation.”
2. Have a non-negotiable prep day. I think one of the many reasons why my boss Andy Stanley is such a fantastic communicator is because his preparation day on Wednesdays is a non-negotiable. Ever wonder how Andy keeps coming up with incredible sermons week after week? Well, one of the reasons is his commitment to blocking one entire day each week for sermon preparation. This also allows him to get ahead. You aren’t going to deliver powerful, memorable sermons by surfing the Internet for what other people are preaching. Carve out the time and do the preparation work.
3. Build a team that can help you. Allowing God to speak through you doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to leverage the thoughts and insights of others. Who could you invite into your sermon preparation process that could help you develop your sermons? What would happen if you pulled a team of staff members, volunteers or people in your church to hear what they had to say about an upcoming series or topic? When you broaden your perspective and get more insight, your sermon will be more powerful.
If you’re interested in becoming a better communicator, learn how a Preaching Rocket membership can help!